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The Importance of Electronics Recycling

2020-04-25 By Suny Group

These EOL electronic devices, also known as e-waste and e-scrap, includes such items as dated computer equipment, stereos, televisions, and mobile phones. Such things can often be refurbished or recycled, yet a significant amount still finds its way to the landfill. Soberingly, only 20% of global e-waste is formally recycled the remaining 80% often incinerated or dumped in landfills. "Many thousands of tonnes also find their way around the world to be pulled apart by hand or burned by the world’s poorest workers," the World Economic Forum notes. "This crude form of urban mining has consequences for people’s wellbeing and creates untold pollution." In the U.S., the recycling rate is closer to 25%, with much of the e-waste being shipped offshore.

How Can Consumers Recycle Their Old Electronics Devices?

Consumers have access to recycling opportunities, depending on where they live. Thinking regarding the electronics recycling hierarchy, the best choice is to donate computer equipment that can be refurbished or reused as is, provided that personal information is scrubbed from devices. Other recycling opportunities include authorized electronics recycler locations, electronics recycling events, or retailer take back programs such as those offered by Staples, Office Depot or BestBuy. Additionally, other programs are available to help consumers with the recycling of cell phones and batteries, such as through Call2Recycle.

Are You Allowed to Throw E-Waste in the Trash?

Whether or not you are allowed to throw EOL electronic devices into the trash, may depend on equipment and location. Refer to specific state legislation, but please recycle. Note that some communities or cities will have policies that ban e-waste even if there is no such ban at the state level. Be sure to enlist the use of recyclers who are certified through either of the voluntary certification programs that have been established to ensure responsible recycling, including R2/RIOS and e-stewards.

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