In in 2009, more than 6.6 billion pounds of e-waste was generated in the U.S., making it the fastest growing municipal waste stream in the country. The really troubling part of that statistic is that only 18 percent of electronics are properly disposed of at the end of their lives, which means toxic chemicals are ending up in landfills and water supplies here or overseas.
Luckily, some companies are doing more to promote recycling devices. AT&T just set a Guinness World Record for recycling over 50,000 cell phones in one week and other cellular carriers like Sprint have gotten yearly take-back numbers into the millions. Documentaries and art projects are spreading the word about how human lives are affected by the manufacturing of electronics and e-waste, but the little bit of progress isn't enough. The number of electronic devices being purchased and retired keeps growing.
Below is a really interesting infographic created by CompuCycle that breaks down the numbers of exactly what the e-waste stream is made of and the value of recycling our electronics.