Re: [GRRN] number of computers sold

Helen Spiegelman (
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 11:44:52 -0700

Ted et al:

I don't know if the 'Clean Computer Campaign' is linked to the 'Clean
Production Action' in Montreal.

Yesterday I happened to hear a radio interview with Beverly Thorpe of CPA.
They are advocating EPR for electronics.

Read about them in Rachel's at:

And write to Beverly at:

We are everywhere. The net tightens.


At 06:11 PM 9/27/99 -0700, Ted Smith wrote:
>The Clean Computer Campaign is about to publish a brochure about the
>growing problem of obsolete computers and the need to re-design our
>information systems. Following is a draft of the opening section of the
>brochure. References are avaiable if you are interested. Comments are
>Ted Smith
>There is a growing and imminent waste crisis about to hit the USA -
>computer junk.
>"I have discovered that they are excellent at collecting dust and holding
>up bags of rice, but other than that, I am at a loss to know where to
>unload this stuff."
> quoted in "USA sitting on mountain of obsolete PCs" in USA Today, June
>22, 1999.
>Computer junk is growing at an escalating rate throughout North America and
>consumers do not know what to do with it. Over three-quarters of all
>computers ever bought in the USA are stored in people's attics, basements,
>office closets and pantries. If everyone disposed of these, the US would
>face an immediate huge waste problem.
>A recent US study found that over 315 million computers will become
>obsolete by the year 2004 - and this is an underestimate. Reliable numbers
>were not available for the number of computers manufactured between 1980
>and 1992 . =20
>Americans are buying more computers than any other nation. Currently over
>50% of US households owns a computer . =20
>Computer junking is also happening at a faster rate. The lifespan of
>computers is decreasing. In 1997, the average lifespan of a computer tower
>was 4-6 years and computer monitors 6-7 years . This will soon fall to 2
>years before 2005.=20
>Industry experts predict that by the year 2005, one computer will become
>obsolete for every new one put on the market . =20
>Most computers that are disposed of are landfilled because only 14% of
>junked computers are recycled or donated.
>By the end of 1999, another 24 million computers in the United States will
>become obsolete. Only 14 % or 3.3 million of these will be recycled or
>donated. The rest -- about 20.6 million computers in the U.S. -- will be
>dumped, incinerated, shipped as waste exports or put into temporary storage
>. =20
>For the three years between 1997 and 1999, it is estimated that some 50
>million U.S. computers will have either been dumped, burned, shipped abroad
>or stored to await eventual disposal. =20
>Computer monitor recycling is no better. Over 300 million computer
>monitors have been sold in the USA since 1980. Yet, in 1997 only 1.7
>million monitors in the US were "recycled", and the majority of those --
> about 1 million monitors -- were shipped abroad to countries such as=
>In 1998 only 6 percent of computers were recycled compared to the numbers
>of new computers put on the market that year. In contrast, for major
>appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators,
>dryers, dishwashers and freezers, the proportion recycled in 1998 was about
>70 percent of the number put on the market that year.=20
>Of the small percentage of computers that are recycled, more than
>three-quarters come from large scale users of equipment. Individuals and
>small businesses contribute only a small fraction of the equipment that is
>recycled because there are no effective collection or recycling programs
>in place . =20
>At 03:49 PM 9/27/99 -0700, wrote:
>> I've seen a wide variety of figures quoted for the number of PCs and=
>> televisions sold in the U.S. and in California in 1998. Does anyone=
>> know a definitive number and source for each, or the trade=20
>> organization(s) that might? I've searched with no success.
>> To post to the greenyes list, send a letter to:
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to:
>> with the subject
>>unsubscribe. If you have any problems, please
>>write to
>> GreenYes is archived on the GrassRoots Recycling
>>Network web site:
>Ted Smith
>Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
>760 N. First Street
>San Jose, CA 95112
>>NOW AVAILABLE AT OUR WEBSITE -- New environmental justice maps
>Food for thought:
>How Gandhi Defined the Seven Deadly Sins
>=B7 Wealth without work
>=B7 Pleasure without conscience
>=B7 Knowledge without character
>=B7 Commerce without morality
>=B7 Science without humanity
>=B7 Worship without sacrifice
>=B7 Politics without principle
> To post to the greenyes list, send a letter to:
> To unsubscribe, send a message to:
> with the subject
>unsubscribe. If you have any problems, please
>write to
> GreenYes is archived on the GrassRoots Recycling
>Network web site: