As electronics become more and more affordable, it’s easy to just throw them away and get a newer model. But you really need to figure out the best way to do it. It’s not a good idea to throw them away because they are harmful to the environment as they contain highly-toxic substances. When these items end up landfills, they start to breakdown and expose the harmful materials they contain.
Why is E Waste a Problem on the Environment?
The United States produces more electronic waste than any other country. This is creating a crisis for the environment and everything that lives in it. These electronics are full of heavy metals and elemental toxins that never go away. These include lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium and beryllium. They also release halogenated dioxins and furans when they are burned. This all leads to polluting the earth, water and the air we breathe with toxins. These toxins can cause cancer, endocrine disorders, kidney and nervous system damage, respiratory issues, reproductive problems and more. This has made it illegal in many states to throw electronics away.
How to Dispose of Outdated Electronics
1. Re-Sell & Re-Purpose Electronics. Up to 60% of thrown away electronics end up in landfills every year. If your device only needs minor repairs, then consider refurbishing it and reusing it instead of throwing it away. Only about 15-20% of the devices that are thrown away are reused or recycled. If they still work you can resell them or donate them to business that can refurbish it and sell it. Sometimes these proceeds can be donated to a charity. Think of any possible way to resell or repurpose before tossing it in the trash.
2. Recycle Electronics. Almost 100% of electronic waste is recyclable, and many of these devices contain precious metals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates a net of about 550- pounds of silver, 50- pounds of gold, 20-pounds of palladium and 20,000- pounds of copper from a million cell phones. This also translates to $600-million a year. Take the steps to learn how to recycle responsibly in your state or find drop-off/donation sites for disposal. You can choose an EPA-certified recycle to ensure it’s done properly.
3. Exchange Electronics for Credit. You may be able to turn your device in for credit rather than get rid of it. Many times, you can exchange it when you purchase a new one. This includes phones, computers, tablets and TVs. Choose a place that will give you credit for your old devices. There are times when you can turn in products for money even if you’re not purchase a new one. The big box electronic stores are a great option for disposing of electronics and can remove personal and financially-sensitive material.
4. Dispose of Electronics. If you feel your only option is to throw it away, then make sure you take the steps to do it the right way. Check your state regulations and figure out the designated days that your trash will pick these items up. You may be subject to fines if you dispose of electronics incorrectly.