E-Waste Is All Over
Electronic waste or e-waste is a term used to describe certain electronic products that have either reached the end of their useful life or are otherwise unwanted or obsolete. Common examples of e-waste products are:
- Computer mouses, keyboards and other components
- Washers and dryers
- Any device with a cord or battery
The easy thing to do would be to simply throw these unneeded items in the garbage and walk away— out of sight, out of mind. But not so fast. Just because we throw them away doesn’t mean they have disappeared. In fact, once such items leave our curbside, they can cause a good deal of damage.
Electronics Are Not for the Landfill
It’s estimated that there are currently more smartphones on earth than there are people. Given the one-year average lifespan of a smartphone, unused phones are surely piling up. Throw computers and other electronics in the mix and your pile becomes a small mountain.
Unfortunately, the EPA estimates that only around 15 percent of this mountain of electronics is recycled, meaning the majority of these electronics end up in landfills. But what exactly is the harm of throwing our devices and appliances away? Here are some additional insights:
Metals within your devices can take a considerable amount of time to break down. Although flimsier metals such as aluminum take between 200 to 500 years to decompose, the harder metallic components found within batteries can take much longer. Some components can remain intact for one million years or longer.
As electronics erode, chemicals soak into the soil, contaminating ground and surface water. At times, the decomposition of materials can also cause fires which release toxic chemicals into the air. Batteries arguably do the most harm as they contain large amounts of hazardous metals.
Mining and processing metals for use in electronics is an incredibly laborious, costly and resource-depleting process. Many of the metals in old electronics can be salvaged and reused to make new devices. Throwing electronics in the trash wastes valuable resources that are in high demand around the world.
Benefits of Proper Disposal
Making sure your electronic devices are properly disposed of has many benefits, some of which include:
Reuse of Precious Metals
As mentioned before our electronics contain valuable metals that can be reused. Recycling these metals saves a considerable amount of time and energy. Perhaps more importantly, reusing resources reduces the need to exhaust the earth’s natural supply. It is estimated that around 34% of metals are currently being recycled— an underwhelming figure given that most metals are 100% recyclable.
The e-waste recycling market continues to grow year after year and provides needed services to each one of us. Now more than ever, companies are manufacturing electronic components from recycled materials. Many of our current devices house recycled metals of some kind.
When we use harmful and corrosive materials, it is best not to pollute the environment with them. The proper handling of unwanted electronics can go a long way in keeping the environment safe and clean.
Helping Not Hurting
When it comes to the air we breathe, the land we walk on and the water we drink, cleanliness and safety should be top priorities. Humans are large consumers, and unfortunately, many of the products we use and discard are toxic to the earth that sustains us. In order to mitigate negative impact, we should all think briefly before we throw our electronics in the trash. Proper waste disposal can go a long way in safeguarding our environment and creating a more sustainable future. If you have questions about how to properly dispose of your e-waste, a little research can go a long way. There are many resources online that can help you in your efforts. As a leading waste disposal company in Henderson and Las Vegas, we always strive to keep our environment clean and healthy and recommend that everyone likewise does their part.