*This is an excerpt from The Urban Difference: Report 2020
E-waste drives enable consumers to reduce e-waste and reclaim raw materials from public landfills.
EMEP: Reclaiming Raw Materials
According to The Global E-waste Monitor 2020, as global economics thrive, so does the use of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Each year EEE consumption is expected to increase by 2.5 metric tons, making it a necessity to properly discard electronic waste (e-waste) around the world. In the United States, for example, approximately 7 million tons of e-waste or about 46 pounds per person was generated in 2019. Only 15 percent, however, of e-waste was recycled, which means that Americans discarded nearly 7.5 million dollars in raw materials that could be used again.
Programs like EMEP: E-waste Management Education Program make it possible to reclaim raw materials. Each year EMEP works with local partners to hold e-waste drives that allow consumers to properly dispose of unused or unwanted electronic products. Due to the COVID epidemic, only one e-waste recycling drive was held in Decatur in partnership with the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama. A total of 112 cars were dropped off, generating 3,000 pounds or 1.5 tons of e-waste. This waste represented a 150 percent increase from the event held in 2019.
The e-Stewards eco-impact estimations for the 3,000 pounds of e-waste are as follows:
- 82 pounds of toxic metals were diverted from city landfills or disposal.
- 84 pounds of lead, 2 pounds of arsenic, 133 pounds of copper, .08 pound(s) of gold, 61 pounds of aluminum, and 819 pounds of steel were recovered.
Author & Editor, Wendi Williams, Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Alabama A&M University. Design/layout, Shannon Schoeneweiss, Technology Media Coordinator, Alabama A&M University.
New November 2021, The Urban Difference: Report 2020, UNP-2184
This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.