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Uncovering the Truth Behind E-Waste

It’s another day in America and that means that another 130,000 computers will be discarded in today’s trash. 130,000 computers might sound like an exaggerated number, but that really is how many computers get trashed on the average day in the United States. A lot of cell phones will also be tossed out today. In fact, over the course of a year, Americans throw out more than 100 million cell phones. Have you ever wondered where all of this e-waste goes and what impact is it having on our environment?

The truth is most consumers have no idea where their discarded electronics go. Even those who think they are doing the right thing by taking their equipment to a recycling company can’t be 100% certain how the equipment is being broken down and where the materials eventually wind up. Thanks to the recent explosion in the recycling industry as a result of increased pressure by the Environmental Protection Agency, more and more companies offering e-waste recycling services have popped up all over the country, and not all of them are legit.

A great deal of e-waste produced in America ultimately finds its way to China where labor costs are low and health and safety regulations are minimal. In order to avoid the watchful eye of both governments, many computer-loaded freight ships stick to illegal smuggling routes.

What Kind of Effect Does E-Waste Have on the Environment?

Modern electronics are built with a wide range of toxic, chemically-laden materials and metals, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, and polyvinyl chlorides. These chemicals are proven to produce toxicological effects that can range from kidney disease and brain damage to fetus mutations and certain cancers.

In the small town of Guiyu, China, where an overwhelming amount of American-made e-waste ultimately winds up, the news program 60 Minutes discovered in a 2008 expose that the town’s drinking water is undrinkable, the children have abnormally high levels of lead in their bodies, pregnancies are six times more likely to end in miscarriage, and the soil has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. The air in the town is thick with the toxic fumes of burning plastics and heated metals. Yet, workers continue slaving their way through the tons and tons of e-waste just trying to make a living even though it’s killing them and their families.

What Can Be Done to Control E-Waste?

The first, and possibly most important thing, one can do to help control e-waste’s impact on the environment is to choose a reputable e-waste recycling company to handle the disposal and recycling of their electronic waste. There are several things to look for when choosing a recycler. A reputable e-waste recycler will be:

The e-waste recycler should also provide its EPA ID number and proof of it being registered as an electronic waste recycling facility. All of the company’s downstream partners should also be e-Steward certified and the company should have a no landfill, no export, and no prison labor policy. Lastly, the e-waste recycler should be fully insured and licensed.

If you need professional e-waste recycling that meets or exceeds the above requirements, then contact Liquid Technology today. We are an EPA- compliant computer recycler that has the experience and equipment necessary for recycling of all kinds of IT equipment – including servers, storage, networking equipment, laptops, printers, VOIP, Audio/Video equipment and more. Please visit our E-Waste Recycling page for more details or call us toll-free at 800-896-6649.