E-Waste In Landfills
Most E-Waste is Trashed, Not Recycled
Most e-waste ends up in our landfills and incinerators. In 2009, we generated 3,190,000 tons of e-waste, according to the EPA.
While many states are passing laws to prevent e-waste from going into their landfills and incinerators, it’s still legal to trash most electronics.
Currently more than 82% of discarded electronics end up in the trash, even though the hazardous chemicals in them them could leach out of landfills into groundwater and streams. Burning the plastics in electronics can emit dioxin. Out of 3.19 tons of e-waste generated in the U.S. in 2009, 2.59 million tons went into landfills and incinerators (82.3%) and only 600,000 tons (17.7%) was recovered for recycling. However, a significant amount of that 17.7% was exported.
Note: This chart, showing statistics from 2009, uses the most recent data available, published in December 2010. Those reports are posted on the EPA’s website here.