Electronic waste or e-waste describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal are also considered e-waste. Informal processing of e-waste in developing countries can lead to adverse human health effects and environmental pollution.
Electronic scrap components, such as CPUs, contain potentially harmful components such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, or brominated flame retardants. Recycling and disposal of e-waste may involve significant risk to health of workers and communities in developed countries and great care must be taken to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leaking of materials such as heavy metals from landfills and incinerator ashes. E-waste or electronic waste is created when an electronic product is discarded after the end of its useful life. The rapid expansion of technology means that a very large amount of e-waste is created every minute.
Electronic waste or e-waste may be defined as discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, television sets, and refrigerators. This includes used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal as well as re-usables (working and repairable electronics) and secondary scraps (copper, steel, plastic, etc.). The term "waste" is reserved for residue or material which is dumped by the buyer rather than recycled, including residue from reuse and recycling operations, because loads of surplus electronics are frequently commingled (good, recyclable, and non-recyclable). Several public policy advocates apply the term "e-waste" broadly to all surplus electronics. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are considered one of the hardest types to recycle.