E-cycling is the practice of recycling or reusing computers, computer components and other electronics rather than discarding them at the end of their life cycle. E-waste is the most rapidly growing segment of the municipal solid waste stream. With the rapid pace of technology, the life cycle of these electronic components is getting shorter and shorter, creating more e-waste than ever before.
Electronic waste contains many valuable, recoverable materials such as aluminum, copper, gold, silver, plastics, and ferrous metals. In order to conserve natural resources and the energy needed to produce new electronic equipment from virgin resources, electronic equipment can be refurbished, reused, and recycled instead of being landfilled.
E-waste also contains toxic and hazardous materials including mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, chromium, and chemical flame retardants, which have the potential to leach into our soil and water.
The numbers are huge and continue to grow. The EPA estimates that recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 U.S. homes in a year.
For every one million cell phones we recycle, the EPA estimates that 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. Discover more here.