Technology continues to take over almost every aspect of our lives, filling our homes with new devices. Unfortunately, this also means that those devices are filling landfills once they’re discarded. The pace at which electronic devices are being upgraded and replaced in most households means they’re continuing to pile up at a troubling rate. The problem of discarded electronic devices —known as e-waste — is quickly becoming one of the 21st century’s most urgent ecological and public health concerns.
When electronic devices are dumped in landfills, the harmful chemicals used to manufacture them can seep into the soil and groundwater. In many cases, these devices make their way to developing countries, where efforts to reclaim rare metals create clouds of toxic smoke and expose unprotected workers to cancer-causing elements. E-waste is a global concern, but there are ways in which we as individuals can do our part to help keep e-waste to a minimum.
The following infographic outlines some of the biggest reasons why electronic waste is such a problem in today’s world. It also details some of the steps we can take to keep discarded electronic devices out of landfills and prevent them from becoming a health hazard.