Sourcing metals for electronics
more than
30 million
tons of CO2
every year

UN, 2009

There are more
rare earth metals
in land filled electronics than in
all known
global reserves

Nature Materials, 2011

1 ton
of cell phones contains
as much gold as
70 tons
of gold ore

UNU, 2009

Every day,
US consumers dispose of
enough cell phones
to cover
over 50
football fields

EPA, 2011

Guiyu, China
4000 tons
of e-waste 
every hour

ES&T, 2009

One Third
of the silver and copper mined
is used to
produce electronics

UN, 2009

Copper disposed
annually in
is equivalent to 
a third of
global copper

European Commission, 2009

In 2009, More Than
of US consumer
e-waste was

land filled

EPA, 2010

More than
a billion
cell phones
are sold
every year

Gartner, 2012

of the energy a
computer consumes comes from its
rather than
its use

UNU, 2004

70% of all
toxic metals
in US
come from


$12 Billion
is spent annually
to identify new virgin

EPA, 2011

Less Than
of rare earth metals are
currently recycled

EPA, 2011

of all platinum group metal &
rare earth mining
took place
in the last
30 Years

WRAP, 2012

Recycling metals
10% of the
used for
mining metals

UNU, 2009

Less than
of global e-waste
any form of

GIS Watch, 2010

Guiyu, the global capital of e-waste,
has the
highest ever
recorded levels
of dioxins

ES&T, 2007

Electronic waste is the
fastest growing
waste stream
in the world

EPA, 2008

Every day,
US consumers dispose of
Enough TVs
to fill
more than

600 trucks

EPA, 2011

The dumping of e-waste represents not only an environmental disaster, but also the loss of millions of tons of valuable resources. We currently spend upwards of $12Bn per year searching for virgin ore deposits, while the most concentrated sources of coveted metals is literally put to waste. For example, every 20 minutes the US discards one ton of cell phones containing over 70 times the amount of gold and silver found in virgin ore. Annually, the amount of copper contained in e-waste is equivalent to a third of global mine production.

E-waste is also a large and untapped source of rare earths and other critical metals used in alternative energy technologies such as wind turbines, hybrid vehicles and fuel cells. According to one recent article, “the use of rare earths in electronic gadgets has risen so much that their concentration in computers is actually higher than that in mines.” At present, however, less than 1% of rare earths contained in discarded products are recovered by recycling.