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Electronics Impact on the Environment


  1. It takes about six hundred pounds of fossil fuels and chemicals to create the chips for one personal computer. Seventy pounds of water are used to rinse out impurities in a single chip. The amount of waste generated to produce one laptop is close to 4,000 times its weight. When you throw away a 5 pound laptop you are throwing away roughly 20,000 pounds of waste.

  2. Only 10 percent of the 140.3 million cell phones retired in 2007 were recycled.35

  3. Of the 2.25 million tons of electronics (TVs, cell phones, computers, etc) retired in 2007, 82 percent were discarded, mostly to landfills.36

  4. About 304 million electronics were disposed of from US households in 2005. Two-thirds of them still worked.36

  5. If we recycled all of the cell phones retired each year, we would save enough energy to power 18,500 homes for a year.36

  6. In 2007, 82 percent of retired televisions and computers were discarded, mostly to landfills.37

  7. In 2005, 61 percent of CRT monitors and televisions collected for recycling were sent abroad for remanufacture or refurbishment, mostly to Asia or South America. Another 14 percent was sent abroad for glass-to-glass processing.38

  8. Recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,657 American homes in a year.38

  9. Recycling one million cell phones allows 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium to be recovered.38

  10. Approximately 300 million ink cartridges are thrown away each year! The production of a single ink jet cartridge requires 2 and 1/2 ounces of oil. That's more than 6 million gallons of oil wasted each year.

  11. Over 6 million DVDs go into landfills and incinerators each year. DVDs have a shelf life of over 100 years.



Recycling For Charities
Wellesley, MA 02481

Recycling saves 95 percent of the energy required to make aluminum from ore.
If the recycling rate were to reach 80% at the current level of beverage container sales, nearly 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided. This is equivalent to taking nearly 2.4 million cars off the road for a full year.

U.S. Beverage Container Recycling Scorecard and Report
In 1972, 53 million pounds of aluminum were recycled. Today, we exceed that amount weekly.
Copyright 2001 Recycling For Charities. All rights reserved. Revised: 09/12/2016