With the transition into flat screen devices, low prices and the ever growing market for wider, yet more compact screens, computer monitors are fast becoming one of the most populous forms of E-Waste as new products flow into homes.
With the harsh reality of 1.6 million computers in landfill, 1.8 million in storage and 5.3 million simply sitting around in 2006 compared to only 500,000 recycled, (in Australia alone) it is no wonder that computer monitors form a large part of E-Waste.
It seems that as many are happy to dispose of their old monitors in the worst manner possible rather than recycle them, people simply do not understand the harm a computer monitor can impart upon the environment.
The composition of materials in computer monitors is toxic to the environment.
Materials used within monitors include plastics, glass and metals (most significantly lead), all dangerous when disposed of in landfill, not only for the environment, but for people as well.
Lead accounts for approximately 6% of your old monitor’s composition and only has a 5% recyclable efficiency.
The effects of lead poisoning are well detailed in people but they also affect plants, soil and animals. 40% of lead found in landfills is due to E-Waste including computer monitors.
Whilst cadmium forms less than 0.1% of your computer monitor, when it is disposed of in landfill, the mass amount accumulates.
Cadmium is toxic and is said to have irreversible health effects.
Similarly, mercury content only accounts for 0.1% off monitor’s weight. Through inappropriately disposing of E-Waste materials, mercury often enters water sources and is absorbed into its surrounds, particularly fish.
It is thus passed on to humans. 22% of human exposure to mercury yearly is attributed solely to electronics.
Simply throwing your old computer monitor out with the trash might seem like the easiest option and fit in with a hectic lifestyle.
However, considering the possible consequences not only on the environment and animals, but human beings as well, it is important to take that extra step to effectively dispose of your E-Waste in an environmentally friendly manner.