We usually recycle without giving it much thought. After all, it’s common knowledge that our discarded bottles, cans, and newspapers are taken from their street corner, deposited blue bins and turned back into something usable. But that’s not what’s going to happen to your barely obsolete laptop. now that you’ve upgraded to an iPad. In an effort to be responsible, you head to the recycling center, just like you would recycle your bottles and cans, or last weeks’ half completed New York Times crossword puzzle. Unlike paper, your machine won’t be compressed and made into a new computer. It probably won’t even stay in the United States. In fact, there’s a disturbingly high chance that your electronic waste will join millions of other tons of electronic trash in noxious dumps -- poisoning and endangering developing nations.
I'm Emily Greenhalgh, a Boston-based science writer, editor, and illustrator.