Popular Science

You throw out 44 pounds of electronic waste a year. Here's how to keep it out of the dump.

Recycle old tech at e-waste centers.
electronic waste

Electronic waste

Don't just throw your gadgets away.

Technology is advancing faster than it breaks, which means we’re upgrading our devices—and getting rid of our old gadgets—more often than ever. In 2016 alone, the United States trashed about 44 pounds of electronic waste per person. And today’s devices, from iPhones to simple alarm clocks, often contain toxic chemicals like lead, cadmium, and mercury. If you just throw them away, those poisons will end up in the environment.

“The whole idea is to avoid putting electronics in the landfill,” says Danny Muller, Assistant Supervisor of the . “E-waste is about 2 percent of all the waste in a landfill, but waste—and it’s contributing most quickly to the growth of landfills.”

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