Recycling and Conservation

How much electronic waste is generated in the United States?

Electronic waste (e-waste), consisting of TVs and other video equipment, computers and assorted peripheral equipment, audio equipment and cell phones, accounts for less than two percent of the total municipal solid waste. However, the amount of electronic equipment that is generated is increasing steadily. The National Safety Council Study of 1998 estimated that 20 million computers became obsolete. Just seven years later, in 2005, the EPA estimated 26–37 million computers became obsolete. More recently, in 2007, the EPA estimated the number of computers that became obsolete had doubled since 1998. Furthermore, the Consumer Electronics Association estimated 304 million electronics were removed from U.S. households in 2005. In 2007, approximately 414,000 tons (375,574 metric tons) of electronics were collected in the United States for recycling.


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