Humans produced more than 63 million tons of e-waste in 2021. That pile of toxic metals, plastics, and other pollutants weighs more than the Great Wall of China – the last title-holder for heaviest human creation. With 2022's pile likely to be 3% larger, we need to put on the brakes.  

Unfortunately, there is a lot of inertia, and post-use waste is not the only problem. For example, industrial mining operations are a huge moneymaker (for the wealthy) but leave the environment in tatters. Furthermore, the energy consumption to produce our consumer electronics is off the charts. But there is a path towards a more sustainable industry. To find it, we must understand the shortcomings of the current system.