`Americans bought an estimated $125 billion worth of consumer electronics — computers, monitors, cell phones, televisions — this past year. With hundreds of millions of them becoming obsolete every year in this country, what happens to all the stuff we don’t want any more? [..]
The average computer monitor contains more than five pounds of lead. Computers can also contain mercury and cadmium. When you multiply that by the millions of outdated computers and monitors, you’ve got lots of toxins that you don’t want to put back into the earth.
It’s environmentally unsafe for individuals to just throw out computers and monitors, but federal law prohibits businesses from doing it.
Businesses usually pay electronic recyclers to haul away the old equipment and pull it apart, and if it’s done right, pretty much everything can be reused.
Unfortunately, it’s not always done right. That’s dirty little secret No. 2: Some recyclers may not be recycling everything. Actually, some experts say most recyclers aren’t recycling everything.’