Feb 21 - Greenpeace Releases New Report on What Happens to Our E-waste

Greenpeace released a new report today, "Toxic Tech: Not in Our Backyard," revealing that the end place for the millions of e-waste generated annually is mostly unknown. Although e-waste has been called out for containing hazardous materials, e-waste is largely not recycled in the United States. According to numbers by Greenpeace in their press release, less than 20 percent of U.S. e-waste is recycled with PCs at 10% and TVs at 14%. This number is much higher in California, around 29% for covered electronics only. Most of the e-waste is unaccounted for in the U.S. because it is either stored, landfilled, reused or exported. Exportation to developing countries for reuse or recycling has been a cause of concern because of the conditions causing widespread pollution.

Even though the US is one of the few countries where it's still legal to export collected e-waste to Asia and Africa, this is not the case in California. California's e-waste policy explicitly prohibits the export of unprocessed e-waste to developing countries. To address this contingency, the policy also requires recyclers participating in the state's e-waste recovery program to 'demonstrate' that they are properly managing material consistent with California law, and this 'demonstration' is a condition of recyclers receiving payment for recycling.

Read the report: Toxic Tech: Not in Our Backyard.

What You Can Do

  • Learn more about what California has done to tackle e-waste.
  • Find a place to properly dispose of your unwanted e-waste.