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How to Recycle Electronics: 5 Guidelines to Managing E-Waste

How to Recycle Electronics: 5 Guidelines to Managing E-Waste

Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is composed of outdated, damaged, or obsolete electronics. Over time, consumers often build up large quantities of significant e-waste in the form of old TV’s, cell phones, computers and components, and other electronics. As technology has accelerated and evolved at a rapid rate, e-waste has become a growing concern.

E-waste is often believed to be difficult to correctly dispose of. Consumers are aware that many electronics aren’t meant to be thrown into the trash, as they may contain dangerous pollutants. Many cities, however, have dedicated programs to facilitate electronics recycling, and taking advantage of these programs is vital for reducing our individual ecological footprints. There are many reasons to correctly dispose of e-waste, and we’ll go over a few of them below.

1. One of the largest sources of waste

Electronic waste is one of the largest growing varieties of waste on earth. Technology is progressing more rapidly than ever before, and major consumer electronics are designed to be outdated only a couple of years after their initial release. This has directly resulted in an enormous increase in e-waste.

The most common form of electronic waste comes in the form of cell phones. The advent of smartphones has led to a growing consumer demand for the latest in smartphone technology. Smartphones are replaced by new models on an almost yearly basis, which has markedly increased the amount of e-waste.

2. Assess whether it can be reused

Often times, electronic waste can be reused or re-purposed rather than disposed of. One of the core tenets of recycling is reuse, and many electronics that are simply outdated still have value to others. By assessing whether an electronic still has value, it’s often possible to dispose of it by donating it so that another party can make use of it.

Functional laptops and computers especially have value when donated, and doing so creates a scenario in which everyone involved wins. In cases where there is very little value or no remaining functionality at all, there are other solutions.

3. Correctly recycling electronics

For electronics that are limited in use, determining how to correctly recycle them is the next step. Many countries have established far-reaching electronic recycling organizations and facilities to take advantage of. The simplest method of recycling electronics requires a simple drop off to a nearby facility. Some organizations may even offer pickup services, so it’s important to check your options.

4. Electronics can contain dangerous pollutants

While recycling is a good habit to ascribe to, it is a particularly important process for a variety of electronics. This is because electronics are often built with dangerous chemicals in their internal components. Mercury is a common chemical in many household electronics, such as LCD screens. Mercury is highly toxic, and when improperly handled is extremely dangerous.

Electronics that find themselves improperly disposed of and in a common landfill are a safety hazard, and the dangerous chemicals contained within them, such as mercury, can often be found to contaminate water supplies and do damage to the nearby environment.

5. Electronics contain valuable materials

Many electronics contain significant quantities of valuable metals and materials. Computer components commonly include metals such as copper and even gold. Correctly recycling these components allows for their valuable materials to be reclaimed and reused.

The benefits of reclaiming valuable materials are two-fold. Reclaimed materials can be reused to build new components, which greatly assists in keeping development costs down.. The second benefit is environmental in nature, in that by reclaiming materials, demand is reduced which in turn reduces the need to mine for new supply.

Overall, recycling obsolete electronics makes sense for so many reasons. Recycling presents what is often the easiest way to dispose of electronics, while also significantly improving and maintaining the health of the environment, and keeping material prices low. Locate your nearest facility, and see how it can help you today.

Momma Bird

Contrary to popular speculation, the author behind The Momma Bird is not of avian extraction, but she's simply a stay-at-home mother living a quiet life in the Canadian prairies. Now that all her lovely little birds have left her nest, Momma Bird has a lot of free time to write, muse, and reflect on life.

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