REM

The e-waste crisis is devastatingly easy to ignore. After all, most of us won't ever come face to face with the mountain of electronics discarded by consumers each year. The sad truth is that when e-waste is thrown away, for most of us it just goes "away." Unfortunately, "away" is a real place. Despite regulations, most e-waste ends up in landfills all over the world. Then all those forgotten smartphones, desktops, and microwaves start leaching heavy metals and chemicals into the ecosystem.

So, just how much e-waste is piling it up? A new infographic from CustomMade breaks down the good, the bad, and the deadly. According to CustomMade, in 2017 "the global volume of refrigerators, TVs, cellphones, computers, monitors, and other electronic waste will weigh almost as much as 200 Empire State Buildings"—evidence that our "out of sight, out of mind" mentality really isn't a viable long-term option.

But there is hope at the end of this long, e-waste tunnel: reuse, repair, and recycling. As the infographic explains, recycling 1 million cell phones recuperates 20,000 pounds of copper and 50 pounds of gold. And compared to throwing stuff out, reuse creates 296 more jobs for every 10,000 tons of material discarded. CustomMade even gives a nod to repair, which—as the iFixit community knows—is the first line of defense against e-waste.

Check out "E-Waste On The Rise: Tackling The Electronic Waste Problem" below for more reasons to keep your stuff out of the landfill. Then get out there—and fix your world.

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E-waste on the Rise

E-waste on the Rise Infographic by CustomMade