A lot has been written about electronic waste.
In 2012, 50 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide, and with the proliferation of smartphones, smart watches and other tech gear, that number will only increase.
United Nations officials estimate that the volume of e-waste generated worldwide is expected to climb by 33 percent by 2017 to 65 million tons.
Those cold, hard numbers say a lot, but sometimes the pictures say much more.
If unused electronic goods aren't gathering dust in the garage, they are either recycled (about 30 percent of the time) or simply thrown away - out of sight, out of mind.
But as you scroll through this post on your smartphone or computer, it's important to remember that modern luxuries have a price.
While e-waste in the U.S. only makes up 2 percent of the country's municipal solid waste stream, it's a much more prevalent and devastating problem to less affluent countries, as demonstrated by these haunting images from Italian photographer Valentino Bellini's ongoing Bit Rot Project.
As the latest products come along and desktop computers, MP3 players and landlines become obsolete, this gadget-driven fervor has generated mountains of toxic trash that poison people and the planet.
(And it's not just old Blackberrys and MacBooks, it's everything from old refrigerators, televisions, toys and more.)
While illegal electronic waste dumping also occurs in the U.S., the appeal of sending e-waste overseas comes down to lower labor costs and fewer regulations.
According to a 2013 United Nations report, China is,
The southeastern town of Guiyu, China is a major e-wastebasket.
CNN reported that Guiyu workers burn or process tech gear with hydrochloric acid to recover valuable metals like copper and steel. In the process, it releases toxic heavy metals like lead, beryllium and cadmium into the environment.
Hydrocarbon ashes have also polluted the air, water and soil.
Where does all this salvaged tech junk go?
Well, back into many homes.
As it turns out, Foxconn is a Taiwanese company that manufactures products for many global electronics companies such as Apple, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
We can change our nasty modern habits, but it's very likely a long uphill battle.
So what can be done?
The UN's Step initiative is tackling the world's behemoth e-waste crisis.
The Obama administration also has,
It also looks like Americans are becoming more conscious of their own e-waste footprint.
Case in point, according to recent data from Recon Analytics, in 2014, the average American replaced their mobile phone every 26.5 months, a vast improvement from every 18 months in 2007.
If you'd like to responsibly dispose of your old tech gear, check out this link to find a e-cycling center near you.