Definition

e-waste

E-waste is any refuse created by discarded electronic devices and components as well as substances involved in their manufacture or use. The disposal of electronics is a growing problem because electronic equipment frequently contains hazardous substances. In a personal computer, for example, there may be lead in the cathode ray tube (CRT) and soldering compound, mercury in switches and housing, and cobalt in steel components, among other equally toxic substances. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than four million tons of e-waste go to U.S. landfills each year.

Around the world, a number of initiatives have arisen to address the issue of e-waste, by promoting the reuse of electronic devices (e-cycling) and mandating that safer alternatives to hazardous substances be used in their manufacture whenever possible. In Europe, legislation has been drafted to deal with the problem, including the Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Basel Convention. In the United States, initiatives have mostly come from the private sector, such as eBay's Rethink project.

This was last updated in March 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Email Alerts

Register now to receive SearchDataCenter.com-related news, tips and more, delivered to your inbox.
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

More News and Tutorials

Do you have something to add to this definition? Let us know.

Send your comments to techterms@whatis.com

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: