Types of Electronic Recycling
Did you know only about 10 percent of cell phones get recycled? Sure, recycling has become a part of our everyday lives, with catchphrases such as “reduce, reuse, recycle” fast becoming commonplace; but there remains a shortfall in recycling of electronic components. We’re well rehearsed in recycling everyday products such as soda cans, glass bottles and cardboard, but this is very different to recycling electronics, or e-Waste. Given our increasing desire to have new electronic gadgets, it makes sense to educate consumers on how to recycle electronics in an environmentally friendly way.
Why Recycle Electronics?
Electronic waste (e-Waste) not only damages the environment, but it wastes energy and valuable raw materials. For example, cell phones contain precious metals such as gold, silver and even copper. In fact, more than $60 million in gold and silver is thrown away every year through discarded cell phones alone. Extracting those metals takes a lot of energy that can be saved by recycling 0- energy that can be used to power homes, laptops and more.
Some manufacturers such as Acer, Apple, Best Buy and HP have taken a step in the right direction, providing takeback programs for their customers in an attempt to improve their green credentials and lower environmental impact. Other manufacturers now provide information to consumers on how to recycle their equipment, so there has never been a better time to start recycling your used electronics.
What Types of Electronics Can I Recycle?
Below is a list of e-Waste recyclables that are collected in many recycling depots across the United States. To check if there’s an e-Waste recycling program near you, visit www.NCSL.org.
It’s commonplace nowadays for us to upgrade cell phones every couple of years, and each time we do adds to pollution if we just throw them away. A cell phone can contain many toxic materials, including cadmium, arsenic and mercury; all of which are harmful to the environment. If they are sent to an incinerator or a landfill instead of a recycling center, they emit pollution when burned, and contaminate landfills and water sources when buried.
Cell phones are indeed recyclable, and can often be recycled at your local grocery store as well. You don’t even need to go searching for a recycling depot.
According to NCSL, “The production of one desktop computer takes at least 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals and 1.5 tons of water.” So many resources for a machine that has become a vital part of our modern world! Since computers regularly expire and become out-of-date, it’s becoming even more important that we do something to reduce the mounting volume of electronic waste in landfill.
Laptops, desktops, tablets, hard drives, servers and e-readers, all fall under the category of computers. If you’ve got any lying around your house, box them up and take them to a recycling depot near you. If they still work, consider “re-using” them by selling them second hand to grateful buyers on Craigslist or eBay.
That old VCR, broken DVD player, even the ancient VHS video recorder – they’re recyclable. The majority of these devices contain plastics and metals that can be turned into useful products again, so don’t just throw them out. Consider items such as video projectors, converter boxes, cable and satellite receivers, plus video game/gaming consoles and their accessories as well.
Digital Musical Devices
The old iPod you replaced two years ago can be recycled too. In fact, most portable music players, radios, stereos, speakers, MP3 player and CD players can all be recycled at an electronics recycling depot.
Don’t forget about all the cables, cords, wiring, keyboards, mice, pointing devices, monitors, fax machines, scanners and printers too. It’s amazing how your desk drawers can become full of these once-useful accessories for your computer. Clean up your life, and the environment, by giving them a good home in the recycling bin.
Electronic recycling is a great excuse to get rid of junk around your home, and a way you can reduce your impact on the environment in the process. Playing your part by recycling your broken, out-of-date, or unwanted electronic devices will help keep our environment clean for generations to come.