What happens to electronic waste in landfills?

However, most electronic waste still ends up in landfills or gets incinerated, wasting useful resources and releasing toxic chemicals and other pollutants — such as lead, mercury, and cadmium — into the soil, groundwater, and atmosphere to the detriment of the environment.

What do landfills do with electronics?

Electronics that sit in landfills release heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead, a heavy metal that is known to damage the central nervous system, into the water pools.

What happens when computers are discarded in landfills?

When dumped into landfills, the toxic compounds can leach out and pollute groundwater. When computers are burned, the dangerous substances are released into the atmosphere and contaminate the incinerator ash. Burning plastics and flame retardants also lead to the production of carcinogenic dioxins and furans.

Do electronics end up in landfills?

Commonly called “e-waste,” these discarded electronic products often end up in the landfill — but they shouldn’t. Some of these items can be repaired or reused if still functional. If they are irreparably broken, the e-waste should be recycled to reclaim reusable materials.

Why are electronics bad for landfills?

Electronics are made using a lot of chemicals – including poisonous ones. Liquid-crystal display screens contain mercury, cathode-ray tubes have lead, and there’s cadmium in batteries and semiconductors. Dumping e-waste into a landfill means those chemicals can leach into the soil and water.

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How does electronic recycling actually work where does your old electronics go and what happens to them?

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15 to 20 percent of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills, incinerators and are illegally exported to developing countries.

Where do electronics go when thrown away?

E-Wastes are buried or incinerated in landfills where their toxins pollute our land, air and water. Most of the time, they are sent to developing countries where workers extract the precious metals from the discarded electronics.

What happens to e-waste after it becomes unwanted obsolete and disposed?

When E-waste gets buried at a landfill, it can dissolve in microscopic traces into the gross sludge that permeates at the landfill. Eventually, these traces of toxic materials pool into the ground below the landfill.

How much electronic waste is in landfills?

E-waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste. 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year. Cell phones and other electronic items contain high amounts of precious metals like gold or silver.