(Copyright (c) 2010 Los Angeles Times)If all the Consumer Electronics Show coverage this week has you scheming to buy the new Google smart phone or a 3-D home theater system, you aren't alone. Americans have an insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest gadgets.So what if we own an average of 23 consumer electronics per household. That doesn't stop us from wanting even more.But all those flat-screen TVs and iPhones come with an environmental cost. E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the U.S. -- growing at a faster rate than regular household garbage and other mounting problems such as spent batteries and compact fluorescent light bulbs.Americans got rid of 27 million TVs, 205 million computer products and more than 100 million cellphones and PDAs in 2007, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Just 16% of that equipment was recycled. The rest was carted out to the garage, stowed away because of consumers' confusion about what to do or, more commonly, sent to the landfill, where the glass, plastics and metals were crushed into submission and buried with the banana peels and fast-food wrappers, never to be seen again.
This is the end of the preview.
access the rest of the document.