In today’s techno-savvy world, many of us are using electronic devices for just a few years, before replacing with something faster or more advanced. Electronic waste (also known as e-waste or e-scrap) can be described as discarded, obsolete, or broken electronics that use either electricity or battery power to run. E-waste is reported to be growing at a rate three times that of of other municipal waste!
Our lifestyle today includes daily use of electronics of some sort: cell phones, computers, radios, camera, TV’s, and so on. But as new products hit the market, we need to ensure that outdated electronics are discarded properly. Disposing of e-waste properly is important, not only because of the growing amount of e-waste in the landfills, but also because improper disposal can be a dangerous health issue.
Before disposing of your electronics, consider:
Remember, “old” to you, could be “new” to someone else! It may not be obsolete yet. A school, non-profit organization, or family member may have a need for the technology. Here are 5 charities for donating your consumer electronics, and information about preparing your unwanted electronics for donation.
Consumers have many options for recycling their devices through manufacturers or retailers (for instance Apple offers a gift card in exchange for recycling some devices). On a large scale, electronic devices have many useful materials such as glass, copper, aluminum, plastic, and other components that can be re-used. Some recyclers, like ROUND2, de-manufacture computers and other electronic waste for their customers, so they can recycle the materials for reuse and value recovery (read the ROUND2 case study here).
Supporting Green Business
A greater number of companies are becoming aware of their environmental impact and are taking extra efforts to provide greener products. Do your research and support the companies who are doing earth-friendly business.
Obviously, recycling old and outdated electronics makes environmental sense because it keeps waste out of the landfills. For companies who have a large amount of end-of-life electronics, recycling e-waste also makes economic sense because they can earn revenue back on the recyclable materials. Even consumers can benefit economically from donating or recycling their electronics, through trade-in programs or tax write-offs for donations.
Now, what electronics can you donate or recycle?
Photo Credit: Steve Worsethandetroit