The average American household has around 30 electronic devices in use at any one time. Once their life cycle is complete, computers, phones, and televisions contribute to close to three billion tons of solid waste. Businesses and individuals can take steps to reduce the amount of trash these gadgets produce. How can they achieve that? Simply by electronics recycling.
The Effects of Electronics on the Environment
Mechanisms that either plug into a power source or run on batteries begin to affect the environment long before you ever get to use them and long after they have served their purpose.
The creation of electronics starts with mining for the materials needed to make them. The process begins with the excavation, transportation, and processing of the elements.
Unearthing these substances and moving them to the manufacturing plants depletes the planet of natural resources and contributes to both greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
Manufacturing and Sales
Assembling electronics and transporting them to the point of purchase and where the devices get used also adds to greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.
The operation of electronics requires the use of energy. Whether from a plug or battery, this energy requires a source that usually depletes natural resources.
How to Recycle Electronics
Reducing electronic waste and IT Asset disposition takes both manufacturers and users.
To limit waste, electronic manufacturers continually improve product longevity, durability, and reusability, as well as their ability to be recycled.
To do their part, electronic users should take steps to improve the lifespan of their devices. To do so:
- Reduce brightness
- Power down or use the standby option when not actively using
- Use double-sided printing
Once appliances have reached the end of life, it’s best to recycle them and ensure they don’t end up in a landfill. When equipment ends up at a dump, the materials, including any precious metals, cannot be recovered.
To ensure proper recycling, many communities have drop-off points. If your neighborhood doesn’t offer a way to e-cycle, many manufacturers provide mail-in programs for electronics no longer needed or usable.
Electronics recycling begins by sorting, cleaning, and processing the devices. Any reusable materials, including gold, copper, glass, and aluminum, get sent to manufacturers and reintroduced into the supply chain. Unusable parts get collected by a waste hauler and disposed of properly.
If a device is still usable, it gets refurbished and resold. Reconditioning a product through updates and repair extends its lifespan and reduces the use of raw materials.
Electronic Recycling Benefits
Tech waste recycling offers several advantages to society. These include:
Environmental Protection and Sustainability
Electronic recycling helps declutter offices and homes. It also reduces the need for landfills and saves space in already full dumps.
Seepage and Greenhouse gasses
Recycling electronics also keeps several harmful materials out of the environment. Mercury is one example. Found in many lighting components and batteries, this toxic material seeps into the water if left in a landfill. Recovery allows for recycling as part of dental fillings, fertilizer, and detergent.
Electronics recycling reduces mining for the raw materials needed to make technology. Doing so:
- Enables replenishment
- Reduces pollution and the emission of greenhouse gasses
- Decreases deforestation
- Diminishes the lost of non-renewable resources
Therefore, the earth gets healthier.
Excavating precious metals is expensive. E-recycling could generate up to $10 billion in savings, natural capital benefits, and minimization of packaging.
Additionally, future costs are lowered and many municipalities ban dumping and offer recycling incentives to both businesses and consumers.
Electronics recycling enables low-income families, schools, and not-for-profit organizations to acquire technological access that they could not have afforded otherwise.
E-waste management and recycling require a multitude of processes involving many jobs. Not only do existing companies need more people to deal with the increase in demand, but the opportunity will help create new recycling firms to recover the materials.
More jobs improve the economy.
Electronics recycling also boosts staff morale and employee retention.
Additional Benefits of Electronics Recycling
Using recycled materials to make new products also promotes the following benefits:
- Energy efficiency
- Easier upgrading
- Less complicated disassembly
If you want to learn more about It Asset Disposition and recycling responsibly, check out All Green Recycling.