Consider all the different cell phones, mp3 players and computers or laptops you’ve ever owned. Where did they end up? Did you sell them, recycle them or simply toss them in the trash?
If they weren’t recycled responsibly, chances are they wound up as e-waste.
What exactly is e-waste?
E-waste is the informal term for electronic waste, meaning electronic products that are thrown out with little to no life left in them. These devices could range anywhere from the old phone in your drawer at home to the old equipment laying around your office that hasn’t been touched in years. This also includes any home appliance that you’ve discarded of as well, such as refrigerators and TV’s.
Why is e-waste harmful?
These products often take up space and may hold chemicals that are harmful to the environment and human beings alike. CalRecycle states that current California law finds unused electronics such as TV’s and monitors hazardous because of cathode ray tubes, or CRTs. These tubes contain harmful chemicals that pose a threat to our natural environment and personal health if exposed.
What impact does recycling these products have?
Let’s consider one of the biggest players in the e-waste issue, unused computers. Jennifer Schulz of the National Conference of State Legislature discusses how the production of just one desktop computer demands 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water (NCSL). Using the appropriate e-recycling measures to recover the materials in these computers and other devices only uses a small portion of the energy needed to excavate new resources.
Properly recycling these items can have a substantial effect on the future of our environment. Less time, energy and resources used to create more devices, a greener planet, and even giving second life to used devices to those who buy refurbished products.
Looking to join the fight against increasing e-waste? Find an ecoATM near you and get started today.