The EPA estimates that out of the 2.25 million tons of electronic waste generated by the U.S. each year, only 18 percent (405,000 tons) of it is collected for recycling. I discovered the statistic in this Treehugger story about e-waste, which paints a very troubling picture of what poor handling of e-waste is doing to developing nations (the 60 Minutes video helps).
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Just by reading this post, you’re going to at least think again before tossing that old cellphone into the trash, aren’t you? Failing that, companies like WM Recycle America are taking steps to make sure that every bit of electronics they collect is responsibly recycled.
And it could pay off. Although recycling electronics isn’t cheap, there’s $15,000 worth of metals in a metric ton of used cellphones waiting for enterprising folks that are willing to find economical and ecologically-friendly ways to extract it.