E-waste may be most pressing problem of the 21st Century
Source: The Mercury Green Living, Date: , 2014
EarthTalk: We must really be swimming in electronic waste, what with all the
iPhones and other devices that are so common. How is this all being dealt with?
— Mary Shufelt, New Bern, N.C.
With electronic equipment and gadgets the fastest growing waste
stream in many countries, how to deal with so-called “e-waste” may in fact be
one of the most pressing environmental problems of the 21st century. According
to BCC Research, consumers around the world purchased 238.5 million TVs, 444.4
million computers and tablets and a whopping 1.75 billion mobile phones in 2012
alone. Most of us discard such items within three years of purchase, and this
is driving the global growth in e-waste by some eight percent a year.
Meanwhile, a recent study conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT) on behalf of the United Nations found that the
growth in demand for and manufacturing of new electronics will result in a 33
percent increase in e-waste globally between 2012 and 2017.