Recycle Your Old Electronics Responsibly
If you’re like most people, you’ve got a stack of old electronics equipment somewhere in your home or office. The problem is not that we’re bad housekeepers, it’s that getting rid of e-waste can be complicated.
To dispose of old cell phones, TVs, computers, laptops and tablets that are broken or outdated you must first cleanse the hard drive to remove any possibility of your data being recovered off the old equipment (don’t want anyone to see those pictures from 5 years ago). Then, you have to dispose of the e-waste in a way that is environmentally responsible.
It’s essential to recycle your outdated electronics properly. Here are a few reasons why:
- There are more mobile phones in existence than there are number of people living on Earth. The growth rate of mobile devices is five times greater than the population growth rate.
- For every one million cell phones that are recycled, the EPA states that 35,274 lbs of copper, 772 lbs of silver, 75 lbs of gold, and 33 lbs of palladium – a precious metal using for making electrical contacts, as well as surgical instruments and parts for watches – can be recovered.
- Based on e-waste disposal rates, Americans throw out phones containing over $60 million in gold and/or silverevery year. Only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled, according to the EPA.
- Recycling circuit boards can be more valuable than mining for ore! One ton of circuit boards is estimated to contain 40-800 times more gold than one metric ton of ore. There is 30-40 times more copper in a ton of circuit boards that can be mined from one metric ton of ore.
- Plastics in e-waste can be recycled into garden furniture. Battery components can be reused in other batteries. Metals can be used in jewelry and automotive parts.
- As a nation we produce 4 million tons of e-waste each year – more than any other country. It is estimated that 40% of the heavy metals in U.S. landfills come from discarded electronics
Be part of the solution. Recycle your electronics properly:
Many major retailers offer electronics recycling, regardless of whether you purchased the product from them. Among those stores accepting drop-offs are Staples, Verizon, and Best Buy. Keep in mind that they may not always clear the data before recycling.
It’s important to note that not all e-waste recyclers are the same. Some companies export the waste to developing countries that use unsafe methods, exposing workers to toxic materials during product disassembly.