E-waste is a term used to cover almost all electrical
and electronic equipment that has become
obsolete, broken, or unwanted. This covers almost
any household or business item that has circuitry or
electronic components with power or battery
Some examples include:
› Old computers, home entertainment systems, cell phones,
fridges, washing machines, discmen/walkmen, electronic
E-waste is becoming a bigger issue than ever before because of
the market that the products are being produced in is
Rapid product innovations are adding to the problem as we
speak. Moving from the analogue to the digital world has
increased the amount of e-waste by newer, better products
being available. More people want to have the new digital
type electronics such as flat screen TV’s instead of the old
tube TV’s; this makes many products that still work become e-
waste because people are consuming the newer products.
Large household appliances such as fridges, freezers, washers,
and dryers have added a lot to e-waste and account for 44%
of e-waste according to a study done in 2008.
(What is e-waste? – STEP)
The average life span of electronics these days in developed
countries is about 2 years (www.shiftrecycling.com).
“Despite international agreements that prohibit the import
and export of hazardous waste to developing countries,
electronic waste continues to pour into the harbors of Kenya,
India and China. In fact, about 50 per cent of e-waste
generated in Canada and the United States each year, ends
up in non-regulated, backyard recycling operations in these
It is almost 10 times cheaper to export the waste to these
other countries than it is to deal with and dispose of it
properly here in Canada and the United States.
It is hard to determine how much e-waste there actually is on
This is due to many different e-waste analysis and collection
programs in different countries. Many areas consider different
things as e-waste. In Europe they have 10 different divisions of
e-waste, whereas in the North America most e-waste is
considered to be Information and Communications
Technology (ICT) and televisions, and lastly, Japan has only 4
product divisions for e-waste.
For a taste of how much e-waste there is in different places of
the world; Europe alone was estimated to have 8.3 and 9.1
million tonnes of e-waste in 2005(www.step-initiative.org).
The US Environment Protection Agency reported that the
States generated 1.9 to 2.2 million tonnes of e-waste in 2005
and only 12.5% of it was recycled (www.step-initiative.com)
Not only is the mere number of e-waste a problem with no
where to put all the unwanted electric or electronic
equipment, there are many hazardous materials that are used
to make these products and once they are thrown in the trash
or landfills, many of these materials are releasing toxins right
into the earth’s soil and our breathing air.
Some of these toxic materials include: lead, mercury, and
There are also a lot of metals being thrown away that could
be collected for recycling and reused in new electronics.
These metals include: copper, gold, silver, palladium, etc.
Throwing away materials that could be reused just creates the
need to mine for more material instead of using what we
already have (www.ewasteblog.wordpress.com).
“An estimated 4,750 tonnes of lead is contained in personal
computers and televisions that are disposed of each year in
Canada. Exposure to high levels of lead, cadmium and
mercury have been linked to adverse effects on human
health and wildlife, including neuro-behavioural effects for
lead, chronic kidney damage for cadmium, and sensory or
neurological impairments for mercury”
Methods for recycling in the countries that all the e-waste is
exported to includes acid-baths and open fires which
contribute to pollution of drinking water for these countries
and pollution of the air the people are breathing in
(www.shiftrecycling.com). Most of the time, the people
dealing with these methods of “recycling” are doing so
without any person protection equipment so they are
constantly being exposed to the hazardous materials even
more so than the rest of the communities that are in these
There are many places that now provide a place to
recycle your unwanted, obsolete, or broken electronics.
Many towns have bi-annual e-waste collection that are
in place now where they set up a local drop off place
for old electronics. There are also bins set up in parking
lots in many places as well as small drop boxes inside
certain stores such as Staples, where you can bring old
cell phones, CD players, cameras etc.
Many waste companies will also not pick up electronics
in the regular garbage or recycling anymore to reduce
the amount of electronics ending up in the land fills.
There are many efforts in recycling e-waste being made
all over the country. We are able to bring our out of date,
old, broken, etc. electronics to many areas so they can
be dealt with in a better manner rather then throwing
hazardous materials out in the garbage. Some of these
places for our area include:
City of Barrie – Electronics Recycling (www.barrie.ca/living)
All Ontario Recycling (www.allontariorecyling.com)
Just Junk Barrie (www.justjunk.com)
Electronic Waste Ltd. (www.ewasteltd.ca)
"All Ontario Recycling - e-Waste." All Ontario Recycling. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
"E-Waste Problem | Shift Recycling."Computer and E-Waste Recycling in Toronto,
Markham, Mississauga and the GTA | Shift Recycling. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
"E-Waste Removal Barrie | JUSTJUNK.com | Barrie E-Waste Removal." Junk Removal |
JUSTJUNK® | Junk Pickup, Disposal and Recycling Services in Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. 7
Aug. 2013. <http://www.justjunk.com/e-waste-removal-barrie>.
"Electronics Recycling." The City of Barrie. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2013.
“Statistics | E-WASTE:WORLD." E-WASTE:WORLD | your electronics recycling community.
N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2013. <http://ewasteblog.wordpress.com/category/statistics/
"What is e-waste? - STEP." STEP Startseite - STEP. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 July 2013.
"What is E-Waste? | E-WASTE:WORLD."E-WASTE:WORLD | your electronics recycling
community. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Aug. 2013. <http://ewasteblog.wordpress.com/about/