5 Things You Didn’t Know About Electronics Recycling

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Computers recycling, or as most people call it e-waste, is a fairly new trend. The eco-friendly movement provides individual users, business owners or large corporations to effectively and safely disassemble the components of their old electronics and recycle or reuse them.

How does E-Waste look in numbers?

  •      A large number of items, labeled “e-waste” are reusable, not a waste.
  •      Only 29% of the global e-waste is handled properly.
  •      Around 40% of the heavy metals in the U.S. landfills come from electronics.
  •      About 350,000 mobile phones are being disposed on a daily basis.
  •      There are more mobile devices than living people on Earth.

What’s next?

The answer is simple – e-waste recycling.

The concept of e-waste is broader than just old computers or cell phones. E-waste is considered any type of electronic that is obsolete, damaged or no longer used. This category gathers old TVs, DVD players, VCRs, tablets, computers, electronic accessories, printers and more. All of these devices turn into e-waste as soon as they are no longer in operation.

  1. All Electronics Are Recyclable
    All electronics are recyclable. From your new laptop, through your old fridge to your first pager. Recycling your obsolete electronic assets means that you are both joining the global movement for a sustainable future and lowering the risk of endangering your home or office, by keeping dangerous and non-functional goods.
  1. In Reality, E-Waste is Dangerous
    In reality, all waste, besides biowaste, is dangerous. Electronics contain a number of harsh chemicals that are not necessarily dangerous when thrown in the trash, but do hold the risk of releasing toxic fumes or other type of influence through interaction with another chemical or change in the environment where the waste has been disposed. Electronics do contain few types of chemicals, bulk gasses, dopants gasses, etchant gasses and chemical vapor deposition chemicals being just a few of them and just one of many reasons why proper recycling is crucial.
  1. Outdated Doesn’t Mean Useless
    A very interesting fact about electronics is that all of them are a rich source of precious metals. Recycling them helps diverting solid waste and precious metal recovery. Annually, electronics manufacturers use more than 320 tons of gold and nearly 7,500 tons of silver to develop new products globally. A recent report by Apple stated, that in 2016, the giant has managed to restore 2,204lbs of gold, valued at $40 million. The proper disposal of e-waste is the foundation towards environmental sustainability in the years of global consumerism.
  1. Data Destruction is Major in E-Waste Recycling
    What happens with your old computer when you change it for a better one? Disposing of electronics has already turned into a separate industry with its own rules, scientific facts and a fast phase development. And while most people consider e-waste recycling just the process of getting rid of an old technology item, there is a major stage in the recycling process of all electronics with a hard drive or memory, called data destruction. This is valid for both individual owners who have an old smartphone or a laptop, as well as business owners or corporations, constantly changing their workforce’s tech assets. Proper data destruction means erasing relevant or irrelevant data, stored on hard disks, tapes or other types of electronic media, so that it can’t be used or accessed for unauthorized purposes.
  1. E-Waste Can Be Converted into Energy
    Statistics show that America only, generates more than 9 million tons of e-waste annually. According to the EPA, recycling a ton of laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3000 homes in the States in a year.

Basically, all of the disposable electronics can be effectively turned into renewable energy. In South Africa, there is a concept, called REIPPPP. Although the amount of electronics consumed in South Africa is not nearly as close as the amount in the States, adopting a similar concept can turn electronics consumerism into energy without spending more natural resources.