Over the last year, Apple processed 90 million pounds of electronics that were unwanted or broken. It turns out they were nearly worth their weight in gold—a substance which is used heavily in electronics for its conductivity and resistance to corrosion.
One woman’s trash is literally everyone else’s super-expensive, rare $200,000 piece of computer history. Most of the time, recycled electronics are too crappy to sell on Craigslist. But one California e-recycling center recently received one of the most coveted gadgets ever: A genuine Apple-1 computer.
It’s not something anyone likes to think about, but your smartphone—or your laptop, or the battery in your hybrid car—created a huge amount of toxic and radioactive waste. And now we know what happens to that waste in the long term. It returns to the earth, mingles with sludge, and finds its way into clay pots.
The amount of old electronics we throw in the trash is gross, and now a new report from the United Nations University quantifies the extent to which we’re discarding iPods and rusty washing machines.
When we stepped inside the facility, you could almost smell the circuitboard. All around us conveyor belts were transporting staggering heaps of electronics to and from shredders and sorters—from hard drives to old TVs, to medical devices, Macbooks, and printers. So many printers.
How long have you had the computer or phone you're reading this on? How about the others that proceeded it? Inside all of these electronics are precious metals that are usually trashed—even though they are still usable, as this Cape Town jeweler proves.
Considering our collective thirst to upgrade to the latest shiny gadget, it's not surprising that consumer electronics generate a nasty amount of waste—some 3.4 million tons of e-waste year. We are device-gobbling monsters who grow strong on the gleaming newness of our machines. But tossing out "old" devices creates…
Throwing away a dusty, broken printer or a intensely cracked old iPhone will be against the law in New York starting in 2015. A new "e-waste" ban goes into effect in the new year, making it illegal to put your discarded VCRs and underused iPods in the garbage. People who do can get fined $100 per item.
Imagine you're in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Behind you is China, below you are thousands of tons of consumer goods destined for faraway ports, then stores, then maybe a spot beneath a Christmas tree. You are part of a vast economy that supplies the things we buy—a galaxy of cities, systems, and people that is…
When was the last time you used your computer's disc drive? What about your DVD player? E-waste is all around us, but as the brilliant Instructables user behind this $60 3D printer proves, there's plenty to be done with it—if you've got some engineering chops.
Your gadgets contain tiny specks of precious and rare earth metals—we rely on these dust-sized particles, which are so small they're often not recycled because the cost of recycling outweighs the value of the metals. But according to the American Chemical Society, the overall value of these minute materials is massive.
We all know we should recycle our electronics, but we don't really know what happens after we drop them off at the e-waste center. So filmmaker Alex Gorosh followed his old iPhones, all the way to Agbogbloshie, Ghana, the largest electronics dump in the world. It's a place so dirty and dangerous it's nicknamed "Sodom…
Crack open your dumb old phone, and you'll find lots of circuits and no lack of precious metals. "In 100,000 cell phones, it's estimated that there is 2.4 kilograms of gold, more than 900 kilograms of copper, 25 kilograms of silver, and more," according to Motherboard. Could a safer and and cheaper method of…
Recycling e-waste is kind of important. Our devices are full of heavy metals and toxins that probably shouldn't just chill in landfills. But iPhone repair company Twice Used is designing housewares that put a new spin on old handsets.
E-waste is an environmental nightmare. What if the overflow of outdated tech junk could be put to better use than landfill fodder?
While American consumers clamor for the latest and greatest in consumer electronics, our older digital devices are inundating and poisoning a generation of children in Ghana. Colorado Springs Gazette photographer Michael Ciaglo recently visited the largest e-waste processing site in the African nation and returned…
After passing a mountainous pile of e-waste crawling with children collecting electronic scraps, Dhairya Dand, a researcher from Singapore, came up with an idea to deal with both problems. The ever-growing piles of e-waste, and the kids who scavenge them instead of going to school.
There are lots of recycling programs that will happily salvage the raw materials from your outdated electronics. But if you still can't let your old 386 go, maybe Rodrigo Alonso has another solution for you—turn it into gaudy furniture.