ewaste
(EE.wayst) n. Discarded computers, monitors, and other electronic equipment. Also: eWaste.

Example Citations:
More than 2 million tons of expired electronics are discarded in landfills each year, making ewaste the fastest growing fraction of the municipal garbage system. These castoffs account for nearly 40 percent of the toxic heavy metals — like lead, cadmium, and mercury — found in dumps.

Some states already mandate ewaste recycling, but only recently have big electronics makers made it easy for consumers to recycle their gear. In September, Dell began recycling programs for all of its products (www.dell.com/recycle).
—Charles Bethea, "Take my PowerBook, please," Wired Test, October 1, 2006

Residents can drop off broken computers and other electronic junk at University of Hawai'i campuses today as part of a new effort to make sure such "eWaste" is recycled in environmentally friendly ways.

Broken computers often include components that can be reused, and also contain small amounts of copper, gold and other metals that can be extracted and recycled, said Larry Wiss of UH Information Technology Services.

"We've received numerous calls from people who know about piles of eWaste just sitting outside buildings where children are just playing around them, and they're filled with lead and bromide and different kinds of chemicals," he said. "So this is a chance to get that kind of waste off the islands to be recycled in an earth-friendly fashion."
—"Get rid of electronic junk today at UH," The Honolulu Advertiser, October 28, 2006

Earliest Citation:
Computer monitors contain lead and mercury and can contain plastics coated with harmful chemicals. When computers are thrown into landfills, those chemicals can be released into the ground, leach into the groundwater and poison water supplies.

In fact, the federal government recognizes the harm of "ewaste" and has enacted laws forbidding large corporations from throwing away their computers. However, consumers have had few resources when it comes to recycling their old computers.
—"Taking on PC waste," Austin Business Journal, May 10, 2002

Notes:
I thought the hyphenated form — e-waste — would be fairly old, but it only dates back to 1999:

The escalating piles of computer junk that is rapidly becoming obsolete poses a serious environmental threat, especially if we continue to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist. That's why it's so disturbing that the US high-tech leaders and their trade associations such as the American Electronics Association—made up of the largest firms, such as Microsoft, Intel, IBM, etc.—have increased their lobbying efforts against the European initiative that would require the companies to take back their e-waste at the end of its useful life.
—Ted Smith, "E-waste not, e-want not," Seattle Weekly, December 23, 1999

Related Words:

Categories: