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Electronic waste (e-waste) refers to the disposal of broken or obsolete electronic components and materials. E-waste materials may be valuable and recyclable, such as random access memory and reusable laptops. However, hazardous materials, such as cathode ray tube monitors, require special handling in disposal. Common discarded electronic products include computers, televisions, stereos, copiers and fax machines.
The problems that may be created by e-waste are compounded by modern technology’s continuous flux and obsolescence. Frequent replacement of mobile phones and computers are but a few examples. As such, e-waste poses a critical issue in terms of solid waste management.
Global and local advocacy organizations are committed to educating consumers on the proper methods for disposing and recycling electronic waste. Some hand-held devices, mobile phones and computer parts contain valuable materials and substances such as gold, silver, copper, lead and nickel that can be harvested, as well as hazardous material such as cadmium, mercury and sulfur, which require special disposal.