Environmental Hazards, Sustainability

E-Waste Is Reaching Critical Levels

E-waste will soon weigh as much as 8 Great Egyptian Pyramids.
Image: Shutterstock

Technology is a big part of our world these days. It helps us live more efficiently, knowledgably, and greener—well, most of the time, anyway. But the sad truth is, electronics are part of a huge problem, and it’s only getting worse. With each new iPhone or Tablet comes a new cycle of consumption and waste. Today, the average U.S. citizen throws out 66 pounds of e-waste every year.

And that’s just in the U.S. Add in the billions of other people around the world, and we’ve got ourselves one huge problem—a problem that, according to the United Nations, will weigh as much as eight Great Egyptian Pyramids.

So, as much as we all love getting the newest tech gadget, perhaps we should reconsider our current practices. Instead of always needing the newest model, let’s ask ourselves this: Do I really need it? Does my old [insert object here] still work? Can I recycle this (and if so, where/how)?

Check out this e-waste world map from the “Solving the E-Waste Problem” (StEP) Initiative. On it, you can see country-level data “on the amount of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market and the resulting amount of e-waste generated in most countries around the world.” This helps to provide a snapshot of exactly what our electronics and technology consumption level is, and what proportion of those electronics are being put into landfills versus being recycled.

E-waste is a huge and growing problem, and it will only continue to grow unless we actively reduce, reuse, and recycle.


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