Electronics are one of the fastest growing “waste streams” of the trash that is produced annually in the United States. Every year we buy 500 million new electronic devices – computers, televisions, smart phones, iPads, iPods and more – to replace, upgrade or update older equipment. Unfortunately, the ‘work life’ of these electronics is very short, often less than five years, generating a veritable tsunami of more than 3 million tons of e-waste every year. One report by the US International Trade Commission estimated that over 3/4 million tons of used electronic products were exported in 2011. Over a third of them went to non-OECD (developing) countries; almost half of them required processing or disposal. Some countries like Canada, Sweden, and Japan have the infrastructure and resources needed to properly regulate and enforce the safe handling of e-waste. Much of the recycling in the US depends on overseas licensed facilities to help process used electronics, and properly recycling your electronics ensures they only stay in the US or go to countries like these. But other countries lack these resources, and by throwing away or improperly recycling electronics we increase the risk of hazardous waste being sent to places where they threaten health, human safety, and the environment. We don’t want our waste to become someone else’s problem.
Recycling or reusing old electronics has numerous benefits:
- It conserves natural resources that would be used in the production of new electronics. Recycled electronics produce valuable materials which can be used to make new products thereby reducing the need to mine for these raw materials.
- compared to PC disposal, computer re-use creates 296 more jobs for every 10,000 tons of material disposed of each year
As the demand for recycling of electronics increases, companies that currently provide this service will hire more employees and develop improved processes.
- it supports the community – Re-Use Re-Cycle
Much of the electronic equipment that is considered obsolete still retains a ‘working’ life. When refurbished these items can be donated to schools, low-income families, and non-profit agencies. Individuals in particular are being helped by having access to technology, so essential in today’s technological age.
- protects the environment and with this, our health – Re-duce
Most electronics contain hazardous or toxic materials which can cause an environmental problem if discarded in the trash. At TechnoCycle we do not send any electronics to landfill or ship overseas to under-developed nations. In this way we are able to prevent people and the environment from being exposed to substances like lead and mercury.