Electronic Waste Disposal
Most people do the right thing when it comes to recycling IF they have the correct information. For example, when people know that recycling garbage cans are only meant for paper, plastic, and glass items, they have no problem sorting their garbage in a way that is environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to electronic recycling. In fact, many eco-friendly individuals across the country have asked themselves where can I throw away electronics? Or how do you dispose of electronics? With e-waste becoming a serious global issue, our environmental bloggers decided to delve into the topic of electronic recycling and provide some simple tips to help everyday families properly dispose of e-waste.
What Is E-Waste Recycling?
E-waste recycling is when materials used in cell phones, computer hardware, and other electrical devices can be recovered at recycling facilities and reused for future products. Reuse of electrical components is important because the reality is the majority of electronic waste is transported to landfills or burned. This results in a terribly negative impact on the environment because electronic devices are manufactured with many toxic materials such as cadmium, lead, and even mercury. These highly toxic electronic components, which are also known carcinogens, poison the soil, groundwater, and even the atmosphere. Types of e-waste include:
- Home Appliances (Dishwasher, coffee makers, refrigerators)
- Personal Electronics (Cell Phones, iPods, tablet systems)
- Office Products (Printers, computers, laptops)
- Lighting (fluorescent lamps & bulbs)
- Consumer Products (Televisions, DVD players, Bluetooth speakers)
- Tools (Table saws, handheld drills)
10 Crazy Facts About Electronic Waste
Finding an e-waste drop-off or free electronic recycling near me facility can feel like a challenge to many eco-conscious people, but a small effort needs to be made by everyone. The reason is that the e-waste problem is only growing worse, and that means more people are going to be exposed to hazardous toxic materials. Exposure to cadmium, lead, mercury, and other components commonly found in electronics can have a significant negative impact on health. In an effort to boost electronic recycling and awareness of the e-waste issue, here are 10 crazy facts about electronic waste.
- Roughly 12% of e-waste is properly disposed of at electronic recycling facilities (Source: EPA)
- 20-50 million metric tons of e-waste reach landfills globally each year (Source: UN)
- 18 months is how long the average American keeps a cell phone.
- 9.4 million tons of e-waste are thrown out each year by Americans (More than any other country in the world)
- Nearly half of heavy metal in landfills is from thrown-out electronics (Source: EPEAT)
- Worldwide, approximately 150 million cell phones are thrown in the garbage annually (Source: EPA)
- There have been more cell phones manufactured than people living on the planet.
- Approximately 42 million tons of electronic waste were transported to developing countries. China is the largest importer of electronic waste from the United States.
- Over $60 million dollars worth of gold & silver is trashed every year in the United States from components in mobile phones.
- With approximately 8 billion cell phones with active SIM cards worldwide, the rate of growth with cell phones is nearly 5x that of worldwide population growth.
Free Electronic Recycling Near Me
Finding an e-waste drop-off location that utilizes best practices is important for safe disposal of electronics. Thankfully, many popular retail stores are making a more concentrated effort to electronic recycling. Best Buy, Staples, and even telecommunications giant Verizon have all made news headlines for taking the environmentally conscious step of being places that accept e-waste for free. Therefore anyone looking for electronic recycling drop-off locations near me can reach out to those businesses to confirm if the store in their particular area will accept electronic waste.
Is It Illegal To Throw Away Electronics?
One question many people concerned about electronic recycling ask is, “are you allowed to throw e-waste in the trash?“. Thus far, 26 states have had some form of mandate regarding electronics recycling. However, there is no federal law when it comes to electronics recycling, and therefore doing the right thing is more of a moral issue than a legal issue. Some cities have policies in place that ban electronic waste disposal even when no such ban exists at the state level. Therefore, the best advice would be to consult local city officials within your community and ask about the different e-waste programs and laws regarding improper disposal of electronic waste.
The state of California has an advanced recycling fee (ARF) that is in place to financially assist with the proper electronic recycling of computer monitors, DVD players, flat screen (and traditional) televisions, and other large consumer electronics.