In the 1970s, Gordon E. Moore theorized that computer processing power doubles about every 18 months especially relative to cost or size. His theory, known as Moore’s Law, has proved largely true. Thinner, sleeker, and faster computers have replaced the big boxes and monitors people once owned 10 years ago.
This phenomenon is not limited to computers. Each day, various types of consumer electronics are constantly upgraded or scrapped in favor of technological advancements. In the process, scores of TVs, VCRs, cassette decks, CD players, cell phones and bulky video cameras become what is known as electronic waste (e-waste).
Americans amassed an enormous amount of electronic devices—an estimated three billion total. Given the large amount of potential products involved, e-waste includes a broad range of devices. Unfortunately, improper disposal of e-waste creates a significant burden on landfills because toxic substances can leach into the soil and groundwater. Absent recycling, the problem could escalate.