Green Disposal of Electronic Waste in Milwaukee
What is E-Waste?
Electronic waste, or “e-waste,” is the disposal of unwanted electronic devices. TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets, electronic toys, telephones, cameras and countless other items with internal circuitry are considered e-waste.
Throwing Electronic Devices Away as E-Waste Is Breaking the Law
Wisconsin statute roughly defines electronic devices as any device that operates on an electronic current and has internal circuitry. According to Milwaukee ordinances, the disposal of such devices in regular solid waste or recycling bins is illegal. A list of electronics materials banned from Milwaukee landfill disposal can be obtained by clicking on the preceding link.
How to Properly Dispose of E-Waste in Milwaukee
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) runs an e-cycle program to help manage the proper disposal and recycling of electronic goods.
Milwaukee also helps citizens manage the appropriate disposal of e-waste at their convenient Recycling Self-Help Drop Off centers located throughout the city. Note that this service is only available to residential persons, not commercial businesses.
Some Facts on E-Waste
- In 2009, Americans disposed of 2.37 million short tons of electronics
- E-waste comprises only 2 percent of the trash in American landfills, yet it accounts for 70 percent of its toxic waste runoff
- Worldwide, 20 million to 50 million short tons of e-waste end up in landfills every year
- Recoverable materials from e-waste include precious metals like gold and silver. In total, Americans disposed the equivalent of $60 million in recoverable gold and silver every year.
- Many e-waste materials can be disassembled for immediate use at replacement parts
- Currently, only 12.5 percent of e-waste is being recycled
- Manufacturers utilize 530 lbs of fossil fuels, 48 lbs of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water per every computer and monitor
- Toxic materials that can leach out of landfill e-waste include cadmium, lead, arsenic, selenium, barium, chromium, mercury, beryllium and a number of potent organic carcinogens