We have gadgets galore at our house and often times that means some reach the end of their useful life. Old electronics pile up in a few places and we recently took some time to learn about where they should go when we need to dispose of them. Things like old phones, cords, screens, and other equipment should not be thrown away, but in a city like Seattle, there are numerous options for where we could take them. Navigating electronics recyclers became easier once we understood the downstream impact of our choices.
Why it shouldn’t go in the landfill
Because it is both wasteful and harmful. Many of the components in electronics can be recycled into other goods so it would be a waste to not recover valuable materials such as copper, ferrous metals, gold, aluminum, and plastics. Not only are you conserving these natural resources but also are able to produce new electronic equipment from them. One of the benefits of this is simultaneously being able to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions whilst also saving energy and resources by extracting fewer raw materials.
Additionally, by keeping them away from landfill, you help avoid adding toxic and hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, chromium into the environment, specifically our soil and water. Instead of throwing out your old electronics and gadgets, consider protecting your surroundings by participating in safe recycling. This will not only promote the management of toxic chemicals and save landfill space but also create employment opportunities for those interested in professional recycling.
A new market can be created for these valuable dismantled parts, providing the option to better the environment. It is not just your environment that you are preserving but the places overseas where e-waste is often sent. Help yourself as well as others by donating your used electronics rather than tossing them out.
What happens when it gets recycled
Did you know that 98 percent of your mobile phone can be recycled and put back into the supply chain to create new products?
Some electronics can be reused as is, while others are taken apart so the pieces inside can be recycled into new things. People can reuse the electronics as whole units by donating them to people who can still put it to use, or have it repaired, refurbished, or remanufactured. Regarding recycling, you only want to recycle the components that cannot be recovered or repaired.
Typically, an authorized recycler dismantles the electronics and separates the materials to be used but it all depends on the electronics being recycled. For instance, the extracts of a TV include plastic and glass but if it is a CRT TV then the leaded glass is separated from the normal glass. The leaded glass undergoes a seperate process to recover the lead. For computers, the plastics and casings are removed and so are the batteries and circuit boards because they can be used for alternate recycling purposes. Circuit boards go through a heat and chemical process to recover metals such as copper, silver, and gold. Essentially, each electronic encompasses its own valuable and recoverable material and whatever can be extracted from it, does.
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