Electronics and digital devices get old and obsolete over time. And when you dispose of them they become e-waste. But can they be recycled instead?
So, What Is E-Waste Again?
The answer to that question is somewhere along the lines of "It depends."
In simple terms, e-waste is short for electronic waste and electronic waste is essentially any junk item that is composed primarily of electronic components. While this definition may be a bit broad, it reflects the more "official" definition on the CalRecycle website, for example,
“The term "E-Waste" is loosely applied to consumer and business electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its useful life. There is no clear definition for E-Waste; for instance whether or not items like microwave ovens and other similar "appliances" should be grouped into the category has not been established.”
Although we might tend to think mostly of small devices like smartphones or tablets, e-waste also includes various types of office equipment and even household components like small and large appliances.
According to the experts at UCSC ,
“Examples of electronic waste include, but are not limited to: TVs, computer monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards, mice, cables, circuit boards, lamps, clocks, flashlights, calculators, phones, answering machines, digital/video cameras, radios, VCRs, DVD players, MP3 and CD players.”
The bottom line is that e-waste can be composed of a wide variety of electronic devices and these items can come in all sizes and types.
The good news is that e-waste is almost 100 percent recyclable and that's a good thing for a number of reasons.
Why Should We Recycle E-Waste?
One common denominator for e-waste are the electronic components contained in them. While some devices are almost all electronics, a case, and a screen, a "smart" kitchen appliance is almost all "appliance", but with a hi-tech electronic component.
The other shared factor of e-waste is the variety of hazardous materials found in their electronic components.
E-waste of all kinds contain various toxic elements that include heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium and beryllium among others. In addition, there are a number of other potentially dangerous materials in the typical electronic device including chlorine and bromine.
And the risks of contamination to humans are real and potentially lethal.
An article at GreenCitizen.com warns that,
"All these toxins are persistent, bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs) that create environmental and health risks when computers are incinerated, put in landfills or melted down. When computers monitors and other electronics are burned they create cancer-producing dioxins which are released into the air we breathe. If electronics are thrown in landfills, these toxins may leach into groundwater and affect local resources."
This means that e-waste items can't be disposed of in the usual manner.
Or think of it this way: that wonderful "smart" coffee maker you got for Christmas last year brewed its last pot unexpectedly. But you can't really just throw it your household trash
And this is true for light bulbs, batteries, old pagers, smartphones, TVs, and even your faithful old calculator that finally summed up for the last time.
The Good News: E-Waste Recycling is Easy
Maybe you already tried to get rid of your old electronic devices either by selling them or giving them away as donations. If that failed and you still have them sitting around taking up space - along with your old devices no longer work - there's good news for proper disposal.
E-waste recycling, also known as eCycling, is the most efficient and environmentally friendly method for disposing of all your e-waste items, whether they're working or not.
In fact, depending on where you live, your state probably already has laws in place that mandate how and where you can dispose of your old electronics anyway. For example, In California, it's illegal to dump your old TVs and computer monitors. These must be disposed of by following certain steps and is accompanied by a disposal fee.
While recycling most "smart" appliances and other electronics is a fairly straightforward process, many devices also contain personal information and data that needs to be removed first.
CalRecycle provides this important reminder for consumer looking to recycle their e-waste:
"Many electronic products (computers, cell phones, PDAs, etc) are used to store personal information. Before donating or recycling your equipment, remember to remove all sensitive and personal information from its memory. Note that simply using your keyboard or mouse to delete files does not necessarily completely remove the information from your device’s memory."
But the best news of all when it comes to recycling e-waste is that consumers do not have to tackle the process themselves. In fact, an expert solution for your e-waste recycling needs is only a phone call or mouse click away!
Junk King: Expert Junk Removal for Your E-Waste
Junk King provides the most efficient, safe and eco-friendly e-waste removal. No need to worry about the picking up or disposal of those old electronic waste items. Not only that, but we make sure that your old electronics end up in the right place: whether it be a charity if the electronics are still functioning, or a recycling facility to ensure your e-waste is disposed of in an eco-friendly way.
We remove almost all types of e-waste, including:
- Copy Machines