Its great to live in a world with all the conveniences offered by our electronic gadgets. But with new models of cell phones, tablets, televisions and more coming out every 6-12 months, consumers are tempted to trash perfectly functional electronics in favor of the newest item.
To minimize impact on the environment, consider electronic recycling when shopping for holiday gifts this year. Why? Here’s a snapshot of the problem:
- 4 million iPhone 4S devices were sold on its first weekend, surpassing the record for the previous iPhone release of 1.7 million
- In 2007 alone, Americans trashed more than 20 million television sets, 157 million computers and 126 million mobile phones
- Globally, we generated between 20-50 million pounds of e-Waste in 2006
- The amount of electronic junk has tripled world-wide in the past five years.
Electronic recycling is not only environmentally sound, it should be required as a matter of law (in some locations, certain items cannot be tossed in the trash, but not all laws are consistent in this regard). Did you know that glass electronic screens can be comprised of up to 27% lead? Circuit boards from computers contain 30-100 times the lead concentration deemed to be hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as mercury. As a result, electronics sent to the landfill can impact ecosystems by leeching into the soil.
When hazardous chemicals enter the soil from landfills that are not adequately lined, the plants that grow from contaminated soil may be ingested by livestock and/or aquatic life, including fish.
Although the legal requirements for electronic recycling vary from nation to nation, you can be one step ahead. Know that nearly every part of a cell phone and other electronic devices can be recycled. You can even make money recycling your electronics because facilities know that recycled materials are less expensive than brand new.
If you are looking for a place for electronic recycling, take your devices into retailers like Best Buy, Radio Shack and Apple.