No matter what news outlet you watch these days it’s abundantly clear that Americans are obsessed with gadgets. From the latest iPhone rumors to debates over which e-reader is best, we live in a society completely fixated on the latest and greatest technology.
A recent study from policy center Demos touches upon why. “The idea of a ‘new start’ – whether it’s a new career or a new computer – is engrained in the American dream.” However, as the study goes on to say, when combined with the falling prices of consumer electronics and greater functionality and capacity for each device, the result is “a growing mountain of e-waste.”
Just how big is this mountain? It’s enormous. Americans throw out 400 million units of electronics trash each year and we’re on track to discard another 50 billion in the next 10 years, which could exceed $10 billion to handle and process. All of this electronic trash is sitting in landfills around the world, wreaking havoc on the environment due to the high amount of toxic and hazardous materials they contain, including lead, mercury, chromium and zinc.
So how can environmentally aware consumers “stay green” in a gadget-crazed society? Aside from taking better care of their current electronics and holding onto them for longer, they can also make sure that their old gadgets are either being recycled responsibly or repurposed for secondary use.
In fact, a number of services and buyback programs have cropped up in the past few years that actually let consumers get cash back for their used electronics, while simultaneously ensuring that they don’t end up as toxic trash. Recycling electronics does require an extra, proactive step on the part of the consumer, but it’s well worth it – and not just for the cash (which we could all use a little more of these days).
The goal is to take the billion plus cell phones and other devices that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates are gathering dust in households across the U.S. and will likely end up in landfills and get them recycled responsibly or repurposed for reuse. Only through this process will America begin tackling its e-waste epidemic.
Douglas Feirstein is the CEO and Co-founder of uSell.com, the Consumer Cash Commerce Platform™, that instantly finds the highest cash offers from top-rated buyers of cell phones and electronics.