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What is E-Waste? Why E-Waste Recycling Is More Important Than Ever

Wednesday, July 7th by The Junkluggers


Did you know that your old cell phone, computer, and television are made from scarce resources, or that carelessly disposing of these rare plastics and metals is extremely toxic to the environment?

The rapid expansion of technology, not to mention an increasingly consumption-driven society, results in the creation of a very large and growing amount of electronic waste or e-waste. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15–20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest of these electronics go directly into landfills and incinerators. Electronic waste accounts for two percent (2%) of the municipal waste stream, but contributes more than seventy percent (70%) of the toxins! You see, e-waste contains a laundry list of chemicals, including: mercury, lead, beryllium, brominated flame retardants, cadmium — and even arsenic (in older models).

E-waste removal

When electronics are mishandled during disposal, these chemicals end up in our soil, water, and air. Plus, the effort it takes to replenish them can also increase greenhouse gasses. Approximately twenty-three percent (23%) of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from industry, comprised of both the burning of fossil fuels for energy and also emissions from certain chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials.

What is considered e-waste?

  • Discarded computers
  • Old printers (laser & inkjet)
  • Video game systems
  • DVD players, VCRs, & DVRs
  • Cell phones
  • Televisions & computer monitors

Why is e-waste recycling so important?

According to the World Economic Forum, e-waste is considered the "fastest-growing waste stream in the world," with an estimated 50 million tons of e-waste reported in 2018. The phrase “tsunami of e-waste” was used by the UN, estimating its value as at least $62.5 billion annually. That’s a pretty big ‘B’.

While it may be tempting to chuck old laptops, cell phones, and computers into a dumpster, it is important to treat these unwanted items differently. Throwing e-waste away means it will get crushed, burned, and discarded with the other trash. Since electronics are often composed of hazardous and limited resources, treating them like regular trash can be extremely toxic for the environment and to your health.

E-waste needs to be taken to special facilities where it is properly disposed of, and recycled according to strict EPA regulations. Once electronics arrive at the e-recycling facility, they are sorted by type and then stripped of any rare metals, glass, and plastics. These components are then safely collected and, where possible, formed into new parts.

E-waste needs to be taken to special facilities where it is properly disposed of, and recycled according to strict EPA regulations. Once electronics arrive at the e-recycling facility, they are sorted by type and then stripped of any rare metals, glass, and plastics. These components are then safely collected and, where possible, formed into new parts.

(For security purposes, be sure to erase personal information from any electronics before they are removed from your home or office.)

Batteries and light bulbs both also fall into the e-waste category. Such waste cannot be thrown into standard recycling bins. For this reason, local governments designate special e-waste collection points. LED light bulbs typically have a manufacturer’s warranty. If they burn out before the warranty expires, just return them to the store along with the receipt so that you can get a replacement. Additionally, some lighting stores offer special containers where you can dispose of old LED light bulbs.

Do The Junkluggers take e-waste?

The Junkluggers will happily take your unwanted electronic waste! Whether it is donatable or needs to be recycled, our network of relationships with local donation centers and disposal facilities ensures your e-waste will be taken care of responsibly. Book a free e-waste recycling estimate, so we can help declutter your property and help your e-waste make an environmentally friendly exit!

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