How To Properly Recycle Outdated Household Electronics

By Subodh / April 24, 2013

It seems as though there are new versions of just about every type of electronics coming out all the time.  And while that may be great for consumers, all those outdated electronic items have to go somewhere.  Whether it is computers, cell phones, game systems or music devices, it is important that they are recycled when they have finished being useful.  Here are some reasons why recycling your household electronics is important.

The Growth

According to Artex Environmental Corporation, e-waste such as computers, televisions, cell phones and other items is growing at a rate that is four times faster than other types of waste.  Some estimates say that up to 40 million tons of electronic waste was generated around world in 2010 alone, and that less than 10 percent is being recycled efficiently.

The Current Solution

The current solution for e-waste leaves an awful lot to be desired.  Much of the outdated and unused electronics are stored in basements and just shipped off to landfills with other forms of waste.  In some cases, it is shipped to countries in Asia or Africa where workers try to salvage any last bit of value from them using ‘environmentally unfriendly’ techniques.

 computer recycling

Environmental Damage

The fact that e-waste causes vast environmental damage is the primary reason to recycle your old electronics.  They contain substances like mercury, lead, polyvinyl chlorides and brominated fire retardant compounds.  When it is processed improperly or just dumped in landfills, these toxic substances get into the soil and even into the drinking water of developing countries.

The health consequences include birth defects, deficiencies in crops and other serious diseases and illnesses.  Also, if the materials from the used electronics are not recycled, new materials must be used to produce new versions of the products.  This only serves to further deplete natural resources and use up valuable energy making the new products.

Beware

Make sure you take the time to ensure the electronics recycling company you use operates ethically and legally.  Many companies claiming to specialize in electronics recycling simply take in your old stuff, strip out any parts that are still usable and then create a refurbished computer and sell it.

Sometimes, these parts include hard drives with some of your sensitive personal data still intact.  The remaining parts are sent to other countries where they are smashed up or burned, releasing toxic elements into the environment.  Ask questions when you seek out an electronics recycling company, so you find one that will do the right thing.