The harmful effects caused by improper computer & electronic waste recycling are truly alarming, and they’re going to get worse unless we step up our efforts to combat it. But before we get into what those negative impacts are on the environment and those who live in it, let’s look at some facts about the big e-waste picture.
- 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year
- Just 12.5 percent of e-waste is currently recycled
- 80% of electronic products are currently discarded in landfills or incinerators, releasing toxins
- E-waste comprises 2% of America's landfill trash, but it equals 70 percent of its overall toxic waste
- Americans dump cell phones containing over $60 million in gold/silver annually
- It takes 539 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor
So what actually constitutes e-waste?
The list is long, but here are the big ones:
- Computers and computer monitors
- Notebooks and tablets
- Portable DVD players
- Mice, keyboards, webcams, USB drives
- Copiers, scanners, and fax machines
- Network Equipment
- Cell phones
- Video Game Equipment
- Stereo Equipment
What are the hazards of e-waste?
Toxins present in e-waste include, Cadmium, Mercury, Flame Retardants, Barium, Lithium, Polyvinyl Chloride and Lead. The dangers of these on humans are many and devastating, affecting nearly every system in the body. The large concentrations of Lead alone in electronics can lead to damage to the nervous system, blood and kidneys. When electronics are burned they create cancer-producing chemicals which are then released into the air. If electronics are put in landfills, their toxins seep into the groundwater.
So what electronics can be recycled?
This answer is easy – anything that has an electrical cord or runs on batteries.
Where can you recycle your e-waste?
Most communities have collection centers that will take your e-waste. Also, many recyclers will come to you and pick it up. Check what your options are locally first, but this national organization can also be referenced and has lot of useful info to share: Telecommunications Industry Association E-cycling Central
Of course, there are other options than recycling your old PC and getting a new one. One would be to donate it. Just because you’ve outgrown it doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be perfect for someone else. Check out Gift My PC, which provides aid to students, and members of the U.S. military who’ve been wounded.
Another option would be to tune up your PC and keep it, saving yourself the expense of buying a new one. One of the most effective and recommended way of doing this is by employing the software from PC Tools. Why blow a grand on a new PC when you don’t have to? You can make your old one new again for about 40 bucks, even less when you use a PC Tools coupon code. Their easy-to-use products will increase your PC’s performance, fix any issues you may be having with it, give it longer life, and postpone it from even having to become e-waste. Think of it as a kind of “green software."
So, whatever you choose to do with you old PC - donate it, recycle it, or tune it up - you’re certainly not just going to throw it in the dumpster, are you? I didn’t think so.
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