44 years ago today, we celebrated the very first Earth Day. Technology has drastically changed in the course of 44 years. The need for recycling and properly dispose our electronic products has also increased.
Donating used electronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable products. Recycling electronics prevents materials from going into the waste stream.” Based on the EPA’s site, many electronic equipments that are thrown away are actually not waste at all. Many parts and equipment are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery. In 2009, only approximately 25 percent of TVs, computer products, and cell phones that were ready for end-of-life management were collected for recycling. Cell phones were recycled at a rate of approximately 8 percent.
Here in an infographic on the effects of E-Waste and how to create a recycling culture:
Why should we handle our electronics differently?
The EPA has excellent guidelines on eCycling, and here are some reasons on why we should not discard our electronics in places that do not process E-Waste.
Electronics are complex devices which are made of a wide variety of material constituents. Some of the constituents, such as lead, nickel, cadmium, and mercury, could pose risks to human health or the environment if mismanaged at their end-of-life.
Although, results of landfill leachate studies, suggest that currently allowed disposal of electronics — including those containing heavy metals — in modern US municipal solid waste landfills are protective of human health and the environment. The EPA strongly support keeping used electronics out of landfills, to recover materials and reduce the environmental impacts and energy demands from mining and manufacturing. Electronics are made from valuable resources, such as precious metals, copper, and engineered plastics, all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling electronics recovers valuable materials and as a result, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce pollution, save energy, and save resources by extracting fewer raw materials from the earth.
- Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 US homes in a year.
- One metric ton of circuit boards can contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper mined from one metric ton of ore in the US.
Earth911 has a great directory of where you can find places near you to donate your E-Waste.
Also starting today, if you have any used and old Apple products, Apple stores will accept them for recycling at no charge. Customers may even get a store credit to be used if the items are in resealable condition. Find out more here.
There are many ways to dispose of your E-Waste, treat every day like Earth Day and make our home an even better place to live.