a growing problem

Innovation and affordability have enabled computer manufacturers to roll out new, faster, and upgraded models at a prodigious rate. Since 1981, more than a billion personal computers and monitors have been sold worldwide—400 million of those in the United States.
In 2003 alone, more than 50 million computer monitors were sold in the U.S.  A natural byproduct of the home computer revolution is the growing number of outdated computers. Between 1997 and 2003, there were an estimated 254 million obsolete computers in the U.S. Another 250 million have become obsolete between 2004 and 2007; though the annual number of outdated machines is expected to level off at around 63 million according to the national safety council.

What is the fate of the used home computer in the U.S.?  Most - an estimated 75 percent are believed to be stockpiled in people’s homes, typically in basements, attics, or garages.  Fourteen percent are recycled or reused. Unfortunately 11 percent are buried in landfills.

Environmental impact

Electronic waste contains hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, arsenic and black carbon.
Equipment that contains cathode ray tubes (CRTs), such as computer monitors &TV’s are harmful to the environment. They contain approximately 25% of a monitor’s total weight can be attributed to lead.  That means about 10 pounds of the total weight of a 17-inch monitor is from lead. 
Some studies estimate that about 75% of all obsolete computers are currently in storage and the more computers that are upgraded and replaced; the faster the ewaste issue grows.

Quick facts

  • Various studies and research shows that ewaste has become one of the fastest growing concerns to the environment.

  • 56% of American households have functional electronics that they will no longer use
  • 33% said they plan to store these electronics indefinitely.

  • Only 9% said they plan to recycle these devices.
  • More than 10,000 computer monitors and TV’s become obsolete every day.

    Lead is found in older monitors and TV’s.  Each one

  • contains approximately 8-10 pounds of lead.

  • 40% of lead found in landfills comes from ewaste.

  • Computers & monitors contain toxic materials - lead,
  • mercury, arsenic, cadmium & phosphorous powders.