And if you think the woods are full of bears watching your tossed TV or PC monitor, you've been watching too much TV. That next 'got to have' gadget or screen usually means that at least one or two others are exiting the revolving door of your home or office - sometimes in the box they came in. With now more computing power in your watch than was in the rocket that landed the first men on the moon, apart from wondering why it's so hard to do it again, our access to computing power is fast, easy and cheap, making us perfect victims of the Diderot Effect. Each new, latest thing has to be dressed with all related new latest things. And the latest thing is the point. Having it first, being unique, cool and on point has a price that's way bigger than money. All this purchase power is cheap in money terms, but it's not so much for bears and other living things in our woods, water ways and food chain. They are literally living with our excess - upstream from where it's made. And downstream, where it's disposed of.
There are more mobile phones in existence than there are people on earth (7.8 billion). Around 11% of e-gadgets and 40% of computers are recycled. Mobiles and e-gadgets are improving, but most people have 3 or 4 stashed in a cupboard somewhere and too often the end up in landfill.
THERE ARE LITERALLY MILLIONS OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES DISPOSED OF TO LANDFILL EVERY YEAR. THE THING IS THAT THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THEM TO BE THERE AS THERE ARE NOW MANY E-WASTE RECYCLERS WHO TAKE ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT - MOST LIKELY EVEN THE STORE THAT SOLD YOU THAT REPLACEMENT COMPUTER, PHONE OR GADGET. DROP OFF YOUR OLD ONE WHEN YOU GET A NEW ONE.
Electronics are mostly made up of metals, plastic and glass. All of which are recyclable, some of which are precious and some are toxic. According to the United Nations, 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are discarded every year.
Most people understand how readily the plastic and glass can be recycled, but what you may not know is that some of the metal is precious - gold, silver, copper and palladium. One metric ton of electronic scrap from personal computers (PC’s) contains more gold than that recovered from 17 t of gold ore so you can imagine the value - both cost and resource wise in its recovery. Further, according to Electronics Takeback USA:“ONE TON OF USED MOBILE PHONES – OR APPROXIMATELY 6,000 HANDSETS (A TINY FRACTION OF TODAY'S 1 BILLION ANNUAL PRODUCTION) -- CONTAINS ABOUT 3.5 KILOGRAMS OF SILVER, 340 GRAMS OF GOLD, 140 GRAMS OF PALLADIUM, AND 130 KG OF COPPER, ACCORDING TO STEP. THE AVERAGE MOBILE PHONE BATTERY CONTAINS ANOTHER 3.5 GRAMS OF COPPER. COMBINED VALUE: OVER AUD$20,000.”
The problem with electronic waste is also the fact that it is responsible for around 3/4 of all the toxic chemicals that end up in the ground. The main offenders are lead, cadmium, arsenic, cobalt and mercury. These chemicals are highly toxic and create issues such as respiratory ailments, nervous system problems, development and reproductive issues.
If you have an old CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor like the one the bear is watching, this needs to be disposed of carefully as it contains approximately 4 to 8 pounds of lead, a neurotoxin.
Recycling electronic waste is way easy. Check the How To Recycle Guide to find out what to do with your e-waste. Or just take any small device to pretty much any place that sells it. Many will take it for a e-waste recycler.