Whether it’s computer recycling or old cell phone recycling, recycling old electronics is becoming increasingly more important as new devices are created in place of the old. Where do all those devices go when they get thrown away?
According to one report, it’s estimated that nearly 75% of old consumer electronics are stored by their owners because of a lack of convenient recycling options. It’s important to know that these electronics shouldn’t be going into landfills because they contain toxic materials.
The infrastructure set up to safely recycle old electronic materials is currently on the rise due to increased attention from consumers, industry and policy. This is good for the consumers who don’t all necessarily know how to deal with unwanted electronics.
What Happens to E-Waste
Old waste electronics is also known as e-waste, which can include anything from computers, stereos, televisions, and phones. While many of these things can be refurbished or recycled properly, many of them end up in landfills. Sadly, only 20% of global e-waste is recycled, while the remainder gets incinerated or dumped. Much of the e-waste in the U.S. is shipped overseas for recycling or dumping.
The Importance of Recycling
Because the electronics industry is growing so fast, the product life cycle has become shorter. This leads to an increase in the generation of e-waste and will continue to do so unless the consumers, producers, and policymakers do something to enact change.
Because old electronic devices contain harmful substances such as mercury, lead, cadmium and chromium, it is essential that the material is handled properly and safely so that the environment doesn’t suffer. It is becoming increasingly problematic to find new and better ways to recycle old electronic units because there is no control over the movement of e-waste internationally.
How to Recycle Old Electronics
Currently, the best way to recycle your electronics is to donate the equipment for refurbishment or reuse. Other options include sending your device to authorized recyclers that can make sure they dispose of your device correctly while maintaining your privacy. Please note that you are not allowed to throw electronic devices directly into the trash.
Now that you know a few things about how to recycle your old electronics properly and the background associated with that, you will be able to make better and smarter choices when it comes time to throw your old devices away. Take heart in the fact the U.S. now has 26 states that have mandated electronics recycling.