What is E-Waste?

Definition of E-Waste

In most cases e-waste consists of products used for data processing, telecommunications or entertainment in private households and businesses. E-waste refers to any unwanted electronic device or Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) and is classified as universal waste. E-waste frequently contains hazardous materials, predominantly lead and mercury, and is produced by households, businesses, governments, and industries. Some common household items that are classified as e-waste include:

  • Computers
  • Televisions
  • Monitors
  • Laptops
  • Cell Phones
  • VCRs
  • Stereos
  • Copiers
  • Fax Machines
  • DVD Players
  • Cable Boxes
  • Keyboards
  • Printers
  • MP3 Players
  • Telephones
  • Digital Cameras
  • Small Kitchen Appliances

These are just a few of the common electronic products that fall into the e-waste category. As a result, it is not surprising that electronic waste is and will remain one of the fastest growing segments of our nation’s waste.

Resource Facts about E-Waste

E-waste is an ever-growing waste stream, yet informal name for a variety of electronic products that have met the end of their “useful life.” Your personal computer may contain up to 1,000 toxins including brominated fire retardants, lead, mercury, cadmium and other heavy metals that are known to cause damage to the nervous system, the brain, the kidneys, and can cause birth defects and cancer. A typical computer monitor alone contains 4- 8pounds of lead.

Used electronic products are one of the most rapidly growing environmental problems due to their quantity and toxicity. Electronic wastes, such as televisions, computers and computer components, contain toxic substances, including lead mercury, cadmium, lithium, brominated flame retards, phosphorous coatings, and PVC plastics that create dioxins when burned. These toxic materials can be released upon disposal, posing a threat to human health and the environment.