How Much E-waste Is Finding Its Way To Landfills

By: Dave Spencer Email
By: Dave Spencer Email

Every time we upgrade a computer, TV or other electronic device, the old one has to go somewhere. While it's perfectly legal to dump these items in landfills, it might not be the best option.

According to the EPA, nationwide 4.6 million tons of electronic waste can be found in a landfill, with TVs making up more than half of the E-Waste. Mark York of the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet says it's alright to trash E-waste because of the precautions in place. York says, "They have a collection system, they have liners to prevent anything from leaving landfills."

Even though the products may be outdated, they are not used up. Gold, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals are worth money and have uses outside the original machine. Those same materials are also deadly if you are exposed to the material over time. A computer, for example, contains Beryllium and Chromium, both known to cause cancer. Cadmium and Mercury can damage the kidney among other things.

In Lexington, you have four times a year to recycle your E-waste. The city averages 100,000 tons when it conducts an event. They are hoping to have a permanent E-waste recycling facility in place by the end of the year.

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