The Importance of Electronic Recycling
As mass-produced electronic devices grow increasingly more affordable, it has become common for people to replace their phones, computers, and TVs whenever the latest model comes out. While having access to the latest technology is exciting, it also creates a great deal of electronic waste (also called e-waste). For many of us, old devices litter our closets and garages because we simply do not know what to do with them. Unfortunately, a large quantity of this e-waste ends up in landfills.
This can create a variety of logistical and environmental problems, as e-waste has become the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. This makes it critical that everyone does their part to help the environment by recycling their old electronics. E-waste recycling ensures that old devices are discarded properly while also helping to conserve natural resources. If you are in the habit of tossing old electronics in the trash, or you have a closet full of e-waste you are unsure what to do with, here is a look at just a few of the reasons electronic recycling is important.
E-Waste Recycling Protects The Environment
One of the most important reasons to recycle e-waste is that doing so can help protect the environment. What many people do realize is that old electronics often contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium. Unfortunately, when old electronics are tossed into landfills, these toxic chemicals and heavy metals can be released into the air, soil, and water, polluting the environment. Recycling e-waste then plays a crucial role in protecting the environment by helping to keep these contaminants out of landfills. Proper recycling can help to reduce these risks, as specialty e-waste recycling centers are trained at handling toxic materials. E-waste recycling can also help the environment by allowing for the components in old electronics to be reused. This cuts down on emissions, as companies can use recycled materials to make new products, which consumes less energy than if they were to make products from scratch.
Recycling Protects Our Health
As we previously mentioned, e-waste can contain toxic chemicals and substances that can leach out into the environment when these products end up in landfills. Unfortunately, these products can be harmful to the health of those living near the landfill as well. Should these toxins leach out of devices and enter the air, or enter the water supply through the ground, even trace amounts of these toxins could prove harmful to people’s health. Proper electronic recycling is then critical in ensuring the health of your friends, family, and neighbors, as you will be doing your part to ensure that toxic chemicals do not enter the environment, contaminating the air and water supply.
It Helps Conserve Resources
Recycling old electronics can also help to conserve valuable resources. The fact is that just because a device no longer works, this does not mean that valuable materials within them cannot be reused. In fact, electronics are a great resource for a variety of valuable raw materials including gold, copper, and aluminum that can be stripped from old devices and reused to make new ones. Unfortunately, many raw materials in e-waste are currently lost, as it is estimated that only 10 to 15 percent of gold in e-waste is currently being recovered internationally. Improving e-waste recycling rates could then go a long way in helping to preserve valuable, finite resources. This could also further help the environment by reducing the need for mining and processing these precious metals.
Recycling E-Waste Creates Jobs
Believe it or not, e-waste recycling is also good for the local economy. When e-waste is recycled, this makes it more cost-effective for companies to create new goods, as they do not have to manufacture components from scratch. This helps to keep the cost of goods down, making devices more affordable for more people. Increased sales of affordable products can then prove to be beneficial to the local economy. Additionally, e-waste recycling can also help the economy by creating additional jobs.
As access to affordable electronic devices with short shelf lives has increased, this has created a drastic increase in the need for e-waste recycling companies that can safely handle and process e-waste. This has created a new industry of well-paying jobs for those willing to work in e-waste recycling. While there is already a need for skilled workers in this industry, job access will only continue to grow as more people learn about the importance of electronic recycling.
Recycled Devices Can Help Those in Need
Recycling your old electronics can also go a long way in helping those in need. As you are likely all too aware, cell phones, laptops, and tablets can be extremely expensive, and they can be cost-prohibitive for many families who are barely making ends meet. However, in our increasingly digital society, these devices can be critical in helping people advance their careers, finish school, and/or find a job. Fortunately, there are many programs available that help to refurbish old mobile devices and provide them to people in need. Electronic recycling can then not only help to keep these devices out of landfills, but it can also help to connect your unwanted electronics with people in need, potentially providing them with life-changing opportunities.
Reduced Strain on Landfills
As society becomes increasingly obsessed with having access to the latest technology, electronic products are being produced with short life cycles to encourage people to upgrade more frequently. This has led to a massive increase in the production of e-waste, and e-waste continues to be the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. This has created a logistical nightmare for local dumps, landfills, and waste management companies who are beginning to struggle with the sheer volume of e-waste they are being presented with. This volume is particularly problematic as many e-waste items may not break down for years, if ever, and they take up a great deal of space. By ensuring you recycle your old electronics, you will be doing your part to keep these devices out of landfills, reducing the strain electronics are putting on waste management companies.
If you do not know what to do with old electronics that you have lying around you are not alone, as many people have piles of old devices throughout their homes. However, when it comes time to dispose of these devices it is critical that you consider electronic recycling, as this helps to keep e-waste out of landfills. Feel free to contact us to learn more about the importance of e-waste recycling.