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Info@tgrolloff.com
24th Aug

2016

what is e-waste recyclingIt’s still hard to believe that a computer that used to be so large they had to store them in a warehouse just 40 years ago can now fit inside your pocket. Recent advances in technology have changed the way we live so rapidly that it’s sometimes hard to recognize how we and the world around us are being impacted.

E-waste is a massive problem brought on by recent technology, and hardly anyone is talking about it.

So Really, What is E-waste?

When you throw away an old smartphone, computer, tablet or any other electronic device, it becomes what’s known as e-waste.

Americans rarely consider the fate of their garbage once it gets hauled away on trash day, but discarded electronic products don’t just get placed in a landfill and biodegrade like other waste. The United States produces more e-waste than any other country, and may be surprised to hear that our discarded electronic products are turning up all over the planet!

A recent PBS story profiled e-waste researchers who attached GPS tracking devices to pieces of e-waste to see where they’d end up.

The results were astounding.

“About a third of the tracked electronics went overseas — some as far as 12,000 miles. The tracked electronics ended up in Mexico, Taiwan, China, Pakistan, Thailand, Dominican Republic, Canada and Kenya. Most often, they traveled across the Pacific to rural Hong Kong.” – PBS

Because e-waste contains toxic materials like lead and mercury, e-waste poses a huge health risk to people when it’s improperly processed. Uneducated communities often burn e-waste in an effort to extract valuable metals, and in the process release dangerous toxins into the air. It’s not uncommon for people working in impoverished nations to handle e-waste without wearing a face mask, and this could lead to lifelong health complications.

According to Inece.org,

“E-waste burning has been associated with cancer, nerve damage and reproductive disorders. Incineration releases heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury into the air and ashes. Brominated flame retardants generate brominated dioxins and furans when e-waste is burned.” – Inece.org

Don’t Be Tempted to Toss

It might be tempting to toss your old electronics in the dumpster and forget about them, but that careless decision has huge negative implications for the environment as well as the health of impoverished people across the world.

The responsible way to discard your electronics is to bring your old electronics to a reputable e-waste recycling company and let them process the materials for you. E-waste recycling companies have the experience and technology it takes to process e-waste in a way that won’t negatively affect the environment. When you responsibly recycle your old computers, cell phones and TVs, you’re helping to protect communities at risk worldwide.

Most everything else can safely go into a dumpster. This includes waste from natural disasters, construction materials, rocks, soil and garbage that doesn’t have e-waste components.

 

E-waste poses a huge threat to the world, but if we all commit to being more mindful about what happens to our old electronics, we’ll begin to see the need to not simply toss our e-waste in the garbage and forget about it.

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