Guide to Recycling Electronics

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Where Does E-Waste Actually End Up?
The world of electronics is fast-paced. There’s always some sexy new gadget coming out, leaving yesterday’s must-have gizmo in the dust. You probably have a drawer full of obsolete tech toys.

So, what do you do with all of them? Throw them in the garbage? Absolutely not. As it turns out, there are plenty of ways you can turn the hot gadgets of yesteryear into tomorrow’s hot ticket. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you’ll also be giving new life to your old junk and clearing out some storage space.

How Electronic Waste Recycling Works

Electronics recyclers are able to fund their businesses (and pay those who recycle their devices) by recovering precious metals from the discarded items. Mobile devices, computers, and most other high-tech gadgets contain gold, silver, palladium, and other valuable materials. The problem is, they also contain toxic chemicals, such as lead, cadmium and mercury. A responsible recycler will dispose of these harmful elements properly, ensuring that they don’t end up as environmental pollutants.

Why Should You Recycle Your Gadgets

On average, US consumers upgrade to a new computer every 2-4 years. 500,000 mobile phones are disposed of each day. It is because of statistics like these that electronic waste has become the fastest growing category of solid waste in the world. Statistics suggest that nearly 50 million tons of electronic waste is produced each year, worldwide, and only about 20% of it ends up getting responsibly recycled.

Unfortunately, the rest of it often ends up in landfills, where the toxic chemicals the devices contain end up polluting the environment, and the precious metals used in their manufacture go to waste.

A large quantity of e-waste also ends up getting shipped to developing nations by unscrupulous organizations posing as recyclers, because it is more profitable for them to do that than it is to recycle the items responsibly. This practice not only causes hazardous environmental conditions in the communities where the electronic waste ends up, but it also puts the sensitive personal data of the original owners at risk.

How Do You Know You’re Dealing With A Reputable Company?

Because shady companies cut corners when it comes to disposing electronic waste, they are often able to offer higher bids for than their ethical counterparts. Fortunately, reputable e-waste recyclers, such as All Green Recycling, can undergo certification processes to verify that they’re recycling e-waste in an ethical and environmentally conscious manner.

e-Stewards, an offshoot of the Basel Action Network, is an excellent resource for those interested in locating a properly certified electronics recycler. An e-Stewards certification means you can rest assured that your electronic waste will be handled safely and responsibly, and that your sensitive personal data will be safeguarded against those who might attempt to use it to their own advantage.

Care to learn even more about green technology and green gadget recycling? Check out our sister blog now by clicking the link above.

[Photo Credit: fountainvalley.org]

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