The rapid advances in technology in the past few decades have created a new hazardous waste problem—the discarding of consumer electronics, called e-waste, which contain numerous toxic materials.

Used computer gear fills a waste collection lot. A new hazardous problem has emerged that is referred to as e-waste. E-waste is highly hazardous, so there are many concerns over how to discard it.

As the Electronics TakeBack Coalition notes, "Discarded computers, monitors, televisions, and other consumer electronics (so called e-waste) are the fastest growing portion of our waste stream."32 According to the EPA, "In 2007, discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, faxes), mice, keyboards and cell phones totaled about 2.5 million tons [in the United States]."33 Yet only about 18 percent of U.S. computers and TVs and only about 10 percent of cell phones were recycled in 2007. Worldwide, the United Nations Environment Programme estimates that 22 to 55 million tons (20 to 50 million metric tons) of e-waste are generated each year, and other estimates have ranged as high as 441 million tons (400 million metric tons).

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