Shocking Facts You Should Know about E-Waste

Jul 18, 2020

It should come as no surprise that our society operates on a disposable mentality.  Consumerism demands that we shed the old in order to make way for the new.  The problem, of course, is what to do with the old stuff when we don’t want or need it any more.

Over the last few decades, e-waste has grown into a major issue, with businesses and households now reliant on computer and mobile technologies, not to mention all manner of other electronics (from TVs, to game consoles, to smart home systems).  As technology advances, we’re urged to upgrade every few years, and the result is millions of tons of e-waste created annually.

In order to understand why it’s so important for your North Dakota business to responsibly manage IT assets, including disposition, there are a few things you should know about e-waste.  Here are some shocking facts you may not be aware of.

Annual E-Waste Statistics

As of 2019, it was estimated that about 50 million metric tons of e-waste (roughly 55 million tons) is created every year globally, according to UN reporting.  This amount of e-waste is thought to contain 100 times more gold than a metric ton of gold ore, and the annual value of e-waste is estimated at over $62.5 billion.  And yet, only about 20% of e-waste is formally recycled, while the rest either goes directly to landfills or gets informally recycled by hand, exposing people to harmful toxins in the process.

In other words, we’re not only polluting the planet and exposing people in developing nations to potential harm, but we’re also wasting an incredible amount of valuable materials that could be reused.  Even worse, e-waste is projected to more than double in the next 30 years.  If trends continue on their current trajectory, the world will produce more than 120 million metric tons of e-waste annually by the year 2050.

What Can We Do?

Leaders like the UN E-Waste Coalition and the Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment (PACE) are working on ways to solve the growing e-waste problem, including urban mining to recover valuable, reusable materials from e-waste; development of lasting product design; rental or buyback programs, and more.  In the meantime, businesses and consumers can do their part by committing to proper e-waste disposal.

For North Dakota businesses, there are several reasons why proper e-waste disposal is important.  First and foremost, you are legally obligated to dispose of IT assets in a responsible manner, in compliance with both environmental and consumer privacy laws.  Failure to do so could lead to confidential data falling into the wrong hands, resulting in data breach, consumer identity theft, and the consequences that follow.

Luckily, you can partner with a certified ITAD service provider to help you dispose of e-waste, either through wiping and remarketing devices, or shredding and recycling them, in compliance with all applicable laws.  The right partner will offer security and compliance every step of the way, vetting downstream recycling partners and even providing you with Certificates of Destruction and Recycling for your records, offering proof and peace of mind.

If you’re concerned about e-waste and you want to ensure proper IT asset disposition, contact the qualified professionals at SEAM today at 605-274-7326 (SEAM) or online to request a quote and learn more.

SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.