Electronic recycling is now playing one of the biggest roles in reusing and recycling. Learn why we need to dispose of electronics properly with this guide.
These days it seems you have to upgrade your cell phone or your laptop every year, to keep up-to-date with technology. Even if you’re not driven by the latest trends, we all have to replace our devices when they break or become obsolete.
But electronic waste is a huge problem across the world. We throw away an estimated 20-50 metric tons of e-waste globally every year. This number keeps increasing year after year, and only 12.5% of e-waste is currently recycled.
Electronic recycling is becoming increasingly important. The world is producing more e-waste and the demand for new products is growing. Read on to find out more about the benefits of electronic recycling, some of which might surprise you!
Why Is Electronic Recycling So Important?
The US produces 200 million tons of waste per year. While only 2% of this waste is electronic waste, it equates to 70% of the toxic waste in landfill sites. This has serious environmental implications and represents a huge waste of resources.
There are also legal, financial and community implications to consider. So before you put your old computer, cell phone, or other electronic devices in the trash, make sure you understand all the benefits of electronic recycling.
Dumping E-waste Is Illegal
It’s now illegal in most states to dispose of electronic devices and computers into the general garbage. This is due to the hazardous nature of this waste and the need for it to be managed properly.
There are cases of companies having to pay large fines for dumping hazardous waste, including e-waste. So it’s important to avoid this financial and reputational risk, by disposing of e-waste responsibly.
Computer Recycling Protects Data Security
You might think that you’ve deleted every last trace of personal information from your device. But there’s a high chance that some sensitive data remains. This puts you at risk of information or identity theft if your device gets into the wrong hands.
By using a certified provider for computer recycling, you can be sure that confidential data is properly destroyed. This can be achieved either by overwriting the data, destroying the device completely, or stripping the magnetic fields off the device to wipe the data.
Environmental Benefits of Electronic Recycling
The most important issue to consider when disposing of electronics is the environmental impact of hazardous waste. Toxic chemicals such as lead, chromium, and mercury can escape into the environment if e-waste ends up in landfill sites.
This is a particular issue when electronic is illegally exported to developing countries. These countries often lack the infrastructure to recycle these materials properly. This means that toxins can escape into nearby waterways, poisoning people and livestock who live nearby.
These toxic chemicals can present serious health hazards. Lead has been shown to affect children’s mental development. It can also cause damage to the kidneys and the central nervous system.
The burning of electronic waste to try to recover precious metals also causes air pollution. Processing e-waste is complex and should only be done by certified e-recyclers.
Recycling computers, phones, and other devices prevent environmental harm. This protects both your own community and other parts of the world.
Environmental Benefits of Computer Recycling
Laptops and other computer equipment contain a lot of valuable materials. If these materials can be reclaimed safely, there are many environmental benefits.
Recovered materials can be reused to make new devices or used for other purposes in manufacturing. This is much better than leaving them languishing in landfill sites. For example, battery recycling from laptops and mobile phones can recover valuable materials such as cobalt, steel, and nickel-cadmium.
This reduces the demand for new materials. There is then less need for mining of precious metals from the Earth. Other precious metals which can be reclaimed include gold, copper, and aluminum.
Making products from recycled materials also generates less production waste. It’s estimated that recycling 1 million laptops could save enough energy to power 3600 homes for a year in the US. E-waste solutions can reduce air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Benefits of Appliance Recycling
Many of the benefits of computer recycling also apply to appliance recycling. You are preserving valuable landfill space if you take your broken washing machine to the recycling center. You’re also ensuring that any scrap metal and other precious components can be recovered.
In the case of fridges, these contain a dangerous cooling agent called Freon. It’s particularly important that this is disposed of properly. If this substance leaks into the atmosphere, it can cause damage to the ozone layer.
Financial and Community Considerations
There might be trade-in options available for your device which has reached the end of its life. Some manufacturers operate schemes to encourage recycling. Many offer a voucher in return for your broken device. This can save you money on your new device.
Some organizations also run charitable programs to refurbish and donate devices which are still functioning. This can benefit others in the community.
Maybe you’re able to upgrade your devices regularly. But there are some people who can’t access technology at all. You could donate your old devices to charities who support schools or underprivileged families. This gives more people the opportunity to benefit from technology.
So electronic recycling can offer a financial benefit to the individual, in terms of trade-in deals. It can also benefit the wider community and provide valuable equipment to those in need.
Finally, electronic recycling also creates jobs. It’s important that we develop an economy where environmentally-friendly jobs are on the increase, especially in disadvantaged and diverse communities.
Electronics Recycling Is Easy!
For environmental, legal, financial, and community reasons, electronic recycling is the right thing to do. And now it’s easy to ensure that your old computers, phones, and appliances are processed properly. You can take them to your local recycling center or contact a certified e-recycling provider.
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