That means thousands of tons of metals, plastics, and even dangerous chemicals are taking up space and damaging ecosystems all over the planet.
Luckily, more and more people are becoming informed about how to properly recycle and dispose of electronics. However, electronic waste, or "e-waste," is still a major polluting factor.
That's where artist Julie Alice Chappell comes in.
Like many artists, she uses her talents to address current events: to help raise awareness about e-waste, its impact, and how it can be recycled into something new.
And just like the artists who use sludge from a polluted river to create gorgeous paintings, Chappell also finds a way to turn something ugly, like garbage, into something beautiful.
Chappell turns the circuit boards, wires, and other tiny components of computers and other electronics into delicate sculptures of insects.
The wires become legs and antennae, resistors become eyes and joints, and the circuit boards become jewel-colored wings.
Aptly, she calls her collection of sculptures, "Computer Bugs."
Chappell will also add the occasional tiny Swarovski crystals for extra sparkle, and adds in some of the patterning, as seen on this butterfly's wings.
It turns out that the insides of your computers, phones, and other devices are amazingly colorful!
To a lot of people, it may seem as though the inside of a computer is pretty different from nature, but Chappell doesn't see them as being so.
"With all their tiny components, complex circuitry, and bright metallic colors, I cannot help but compare [computer parts] to the detailed patterns we see when we look at nature up close," she explains.
Chappell got the idea to turn electronic parts into insects a few years ago. She was at her local materials exchange center, where companies send unused or unwanted items that can be used by artists, schools, or whoever needs them. When she picked up a box of electronic components, all the tiny wires and bits immediately reminded her of ants.And that was how the Computer Bugs were born.