Everyone is familiar with regular waste. It’s your old soda bottles, food packaging, and muesli bar wrappers you had with lunch. But what about e-waste? E-waste is almost anything electronic. It’s your computers, home and business telephones, DVD players, stereos, and even VCRs.
Every year, waste disposal trucks in the United States pick up over 3.14 tons of e-waste. That figure is staggering enough but doesn’t even factor in the rest of the world. Where does it go? What happens with it? Below, you can learn everything you need to know about e-waste so that you can be in control of what happens to yours.
Why is it Important to Recycle E-Waste?
The world has been facing the growing problem of what to do with waste for several years. Every year, waste disposal businesses will pick up around 1,000 pounds of rubbish from every single American. We haven’t yet worked out a viable solution to this problem, and we already have another on our hands: e-waste.
Around 60 percent of discarded electronics will end up on the back of a waste disposal truck, along with your household trash. Unlike your banana skins and apple cores, E-waste doesn’t break down. Instead, its hazardous chemicals and plastics leach into the environment, polluting waterways, groundwater, and streams. The problem is, this process is still legal in many US states.
Some of those plastic electronics will also end up in incinerators, with harmful dioxins filling the air. Out of over three tons of e-waste collected for waste disposal in the United States in 2013, less than half was recycled.
Benefits of Recycling E-Waste for Your Company
Many businesses choose to throw old equipment away or store it in cupboards to gather dust. The alternative would be to pay for someone to come and recycle it. In most states, however, recycling your e-waste is far cheaper than waste disposal into landfill. You also get the benefit of doing your part for the environment.
If you don’t like the idea of paying to remove your e-waste, then let some of the other benefits overturn your decision. E-waste recycling declutters your office. There will be no dusty old monitors taking up space, brick-sized mobile phones lying around the office, and no dated phone systems taking up valuable storage space.
What’s more, when you make a more conscious effort with your recycling and carbon footprint, consumers view you in a more beneficial light. You can’t put a price on your image.
A common concern for not recycling E-waste is data getting into the wrong hands. If your business is security conscious, then download system wiping software to remove everything off them before you recycle them. It’s that easy.
How is E-Waste Recycled?
Rather than send your valuable E-waste on a waste disposal truck to landfill, why not find out more about the recycling process? You may have it in your mind that recycling businesses sell it off for reuse, but that’s not the case at all. No one wants your old 1990s VCR anyway.
In the case of laptops, electronic equipment, and computers, the recycling process is straightforward. The first step involves typically sorting each item by hand. Batteries and copper are removed from the electronics.
Larger items can go through a shredder, which is useful for data destruction and makes sorting of recyclable materials easier. Small debris is spread on a conveyor belt, broken up even smaller, and magnets remove steel and iron.
Any metallic and non-metallic materials such as brass, copper, and aluminum are removed and sold as raw materials. Water also separates plastic from glass, essentially itemizing all elements for on-selling.
Recycling processes can differ from one waste disposal and recycling plant to the next. Consult your nearest expert to find out more.
What Happens Now?
Most states in the United States now have e-waste recycling processes in place, or at least ban it from going into landfill. That’s the first step, but now it’s up to you. If you have old electronics you want to get rid of, consider looking for local recycling firms before you consider environment-harming waste disposal methods. While you may need to pay for the privilege, can you really put a price on the environment?
Gather all your workers, find all those hidden and old electronics that haven’t seen the light of day in years, and get in touch with your local e-waste recycling firm. They can then come and pick them up, remove all the non-renewable materials for reuse, and discard the remaining materials responsibly.
You get to free up storage space, change your company image to one of “clean and green” and involve your staff in a group project that benefits the world. What are you waiting for? Recycle your e-waste today.
This post has been sponsored by ClickThrough
My name is Alison Hefer, I am originally from Cape Town, South Africa but I have spent the last few years in beautiful New Zealand. I write articles for various websites including Junkrun.co.nz and regularly contribute articles about the always changing world of SEO to Clickthrough.co.nz. I am a busy blogger/mom by day and avid writer by night. My career goal is to one day write a novel of my own. Connect with me via email at [email protected].