Economics of Electronic Waste Disposal Regulations

The components of municipal solid waste are rapidly changing. Obsolete computers, cellular phones, televisions, and many other outdated electronics, all known as electronic waste, are becoming a greater proportion of the global municipal waste stream. Technological innovation continues to improve, and the lifespan of electronics remains short. As a result, the amount of electronic waste that accumulates quickly increases. It is now the nation’s fastest growing category of solid waste, growing at a rate three times that of other usual municipal wastes. Estimates show that 133,000 electronic devices are discarded daily in the United States totaling three million tons of electronic waste per year. Electronics have the potential to release dangerous substances, such as mercury, lead, and hexavalent chromium, into the environment. Exposure to these substances can have tragic effects on human health.

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