Most people know by now that recycling helps save our Earth. With the number of landfills in the United States increasing, and the majority of waste in these landfills being electronics waste, there is so much more work that needs to be done in reducing waste and keeping the environment safe.
What exactly is e-Waste?
What exactly is e-Waste and what can be recycled? The term “e-Waste” is an abbreviation of “electronic waste”. According to StEP (Solving the eWaste Problem), who is a United Nations partner organization, “E-Waste is a term used to cover items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste without the intention of re-use.”
End-of-life televisions, computers, copiers, laptops, monitors, medical/lab equipment, refrigerators and GPS devices are just a few examples of e-Waste that needs to be recycled rather than thrown away.
Where does all the e-Waste go?
Accelerating product innovations and replacement – especially in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and office/medical/lab equipment – combined with the change from analog to digital technologies (ex. to flat-screen TVs and monitors) – are feeding the increase. Fueling this growth is the decrease in the cost of electronic items making them more affordable to consumers.
As more electronics are manufactured, and subsequently replace their out-of-date cousins, where do all the old ones go?
Some of us do try to re-use and recycle our old electronics. However many of us also have e-Waste that remains in basements, attics and storage rooms – out of sight, out of mind.
Although we are doing a better job of recycling paper and cardboard, more attention needs to be given to e-Waste and its proper disposal. Many have steered away from recycling certain products because they weren’t aware that these items can be re-used and recycled – or simply thought it was inconvenient and stashed them away for another day.
PCS of Massachusetts CEO Lisa DiPaolo Bacewicz amidst the current stream of electronics in the process of being recycled at her facility in Weymouth. Chris Bernstein photo
In addition to recycling computers, printers and such, the following list contains eleven items often thrown away in the past, but can be re-used and recycled today. These items are not allowed in door-side recycling bins. Call a certified electronics recycling company to help you properly dispose of the following items.
1) Batteries: The more batteries that end up in landfills, the more volatile the landfills become – bad for our Earth.
2) VHS and cassette tapes: Are you still holding onto leftover VHS and cassette tapes? These items can be recycled.
3) Ink jet and laser cartridges: Most people toss the empty cartridges in the trash which is a no no.
4) CDs, DVDs, Game Disks: These plastic orbs are stuffing our landfills. These can be efficiently shredded at a responsible recycling company.
5) Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs): Energy efficient- yes – but there are hidden dangers sealed inside each little bulb, such as Mercury, where the contents of one light bulb contains enough mercury to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water.
6) Cell phones: Only 10% are re-used. In a recent announcement made by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at this year’s Mobile World Congress “There are more in-use cell phones than there are people on the planet right now.” Where will all the old phones go?
7) Cameras/Camcorders: As technology advances in camera technology, where are all the out-of-use cameras going? Recycle them instead of tossing into the trash/landfills!
8) Power Cords/Power Supplies: As the end-of-life electrics are rendered obsolete – so go their power supplies.
What can we do?
Contact a certified, responsible recycling company who will advise you as to how to properly dispose of your e-Waste. Help keep our environment safe!