Protecting the environment and human health at home and abroad is a priority at Big Blue Barrel. Globally in 2020 approximately 53.6 million tons of e-waste was generated with less than 18% recycled. Each year in the US alone approximately seven million tons of e-waste is generated with the majority going to landfills. About 40% of what is recycled is exported to developing countries without the capacity to properly recycle, which adversely impacts the environment and human health. Developing Asian and African countries are the top destinations. E-waste contains many toxic substances. Most of the exposure to toxic chemicals originates from CRT and LCD monitors and the crude refining methods used to extract precious metals such as gold and silver from circuit boards, RAM and CPU chips.
Some of the elements and chemicals toxic to human health include mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, chromium, and brominated flame retardants, which damage the kidneys, lungs, brain, liver and DNA. Children are often more severely affected.
Combating the export of e-waste to developing countries unequipped to properly recycle takes a global effort. Big Blue Barrel is committed to doing its part to safeguard the environment and human health by not exporting e-waste to destinations ill equipped to manage such waste properly and safely.