John Shegerian (CEO, Electronic Waste Recyclers) gives expert video advice on: What is 'electronic waste' (e-waste)?; Why is e-waste a growing concern?; Why should I recycle my e-waste? and more...
What is 'electronic waste' (e-waste)?
Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. It's everything electronic: from our cell phones, to our IPods, to laptops and television sets, computers, and our copiers and printers. Everything electronic encompasses e-waste
Why is e-waste a growing concern?
E-waste has lots of hazardous materials and toxic materials in it, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and beryllium. If these items end up in our landfills, and then leech into our ground and water supplies, they tend to pollute our environment to the point where it is then ingested by a human being or animals. We want to prevent that.
How much of the solid waste in landfills is e-waste?
Approximately two percent and growing is e-waste in our landfills, but it makes up a lot greater percentage of our toxic material. It is paramount that we keep e-waste out of our landfills. We do not want it's toxic elements to end up in the landfills, in our land and water supplies.
Is it illegal to dispose of computers in the trash?
In California today, in 2007, it's illegal to throw out your computers or e-waste into the trash. Other states and other countries are yet to catch up with California's leading recycling laws, but I believe other states and countries will soon come on aboard with the landmark laws that have been passed here in California.
How long has e-waste recycling been around?
E-waste recycling has been around, internationally speaking, since 1991, when Switzerland and some European countries started passing initiatives. In California, they passed the landmark SB 20 law in 2003. That law just got enacted January 1, 2005. So e-waste as we know it in the United States is a growing trend that has been around only since 2003, and operating since 2005.
Who started the e-waste recycling movement?
It's unclear who really started the e-waste recycling movement, but there's lots of responsible groups and people out there that saw what was coming and saw the growing trend with technology and the fast turnover that we have now with technology. Many people got together to pass the landmark laws that have been passed in Massachusetts, which has had a landfill ban since the early 2000 years and in California which passed SB20 and created the landfill bans here in California.
What percentage of electronics today are being recycled properly?
A very, very low percentage of electronics are now being recycled appropriately in the United States. Unfortunately, California has led the way on this issue but the other states have been slow to follow and the other countries have been slow to follow. However, changes are in the wind. I believe that other states and other countries are going to start catching up, because they see the great success of the California Recycling Model. In 2005, 65 million pounds of electronic waste was recycled appropriately in the state of California. In 2006, over 120 million pounds of electronic waste was recycled in California. Those numbers are growing, year over year and day over day.