Although electronic waste is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in America, it is still tossed out. If tossed out, to be dumped along with other trash and litter, this makes a problem for our Earth. This can also cause a severe health risk depending on what kind of electronics you are talking about.
When a consumer buys a new product, they expect the old one to go away. But, unfortunately, the recycling process is not as straightforward as it seems. While you can easily recycle some electronics into raw material that can be used again to manufacture new products, most end-of-life electronics are exported from developed countries to developing countries for dismantling and recycling.
In many cases, this means broken equipment being sent halfway around the world with almost no potential for reuse or repair. This way of doing things is unsustainable and bad for both the environment and human health. What’s more, reusing already built technologies delivers five times more employment than using virgin materials for building new ones.
To assist your organization, let’s explore some reasons you should always recycle your e-waste…
It Could Be Illegal
Did you know that in the United States, it is against the law for anyone to export e-waste to developing countries? If any business or individual exports e-waste to a developing country, they could face heavy fines and penalties. This is because developed countries such as the US have hazardous waste laws that require the proper management of toxic materials like mercury, lead, cadmium, and other dangerous chemicals found in electronics.
If you sell your computer or electronic device at certain recycling stores or websites, then they will ensure all responsible recycling protocols are followed. However, if not done via an authorized recycler, sending your old gadgets overseas can land you in jail even though it would be legal domestically. You can also have an ITAD company take care of the heavy lifting for you.
It Can Be Toxic
Because many different types of materials are combined to create electronic devices, they can be very toxic when not disposed of responsibly. For example, you can find lead in circuit boards, and mercury is in lamps. When electronics are improperly recycled in developing countries, this is what happens; the circuitry in these products ends up being burned, releasing dangerous toxins into the air and water supplies.
As well as this, people who work without protective equipment on open burning piles or inside poorly ventilated recycling facilities are exposed to extremely high levels of toxic contamination over long periods.
Not only does burning surge protection boxes release dioxin pollutants, but it pollutes the air with fumes containing highly poisonous gases such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Due to the lack of adequate safety measures, these toxins often result in local water supplies and food chains.
It Can Cause Fires
When electronic products are improperly recycled, one of the dangers is that they can quickly start fires. This is one of the leading causes of e-waste fires. By recycling your old devices through a certified recycler, you can significantly reduce this risk.
It Is Bad for the Environment
So, by not recycling your old electronics, you are harming the environment in many different ways. For one thing, you can reuse most electronic products. If there is nothing wrong with them and they work fine, you should send them to places where they can still function and provide full life cycles of use.
The most valuable resources in most electronic devices are metals such as gold, silver, and copper. These metals can often fetch up to $1,000 per ton when extracted properly through responsible recycling processes, which means that even if you’re just tossing out an old cell phone or dusty laptop, it could be worth something! So, unfortunately, this means that valuable materials are being needlessly wasted every time you throw away a device instead of recycling it.
Electronic Waste Has Recoverable Value
In today’s society, we have been trained to think that when something is no longer useful, it has absolutely no value. However, almost all electronic products have replacement parts made from valuable materials such as copper, silver, and gold, which can be recycled and reused in a product designed for a completely different purpose.
You can even find some of these resources inside old computer towers or the monitor itself! This means that if you throw out an old monitor or tower instead of recycling them, you could potentially be throwing away hundreds of dollars worth of metals and components.
Your Disposal Needs, Met with Avail Recovery
At Avail Recovery, we understand the importance of recycling electronics responsibly. That is why we are the answer to your electronic recycling needs. Avail Recovery offers Hardware Trade-In Programs, Asset Recovery and Buyback programs, and Electronics Recycling with the RetrieveIT program.
Looking for additional information? Contact us today to find out how we can help with all your e-waste needs.