As we're wrapping up the year and will soon be unwrapping presents, it's quite likely many will be electronic devices, which means getting rid of old ones.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a bit of a problem because it shouldn't be tossed into the household trash, but recycled instead. And some of it can be toxic if it ends up in landfills. So, what should you do?
Old Electronic Devices, Gadgets, and Gizmos - A Holiday Haul
It's no secret to most people that our society is awash in electronic and digital devices.
Take this mind-numbing statistic, for example: Since 2013 there have been over 1.4 billion phones sold in the United States. And there are close to 295 million smartphone users in the U.S. as of 2021.
In just the first three quarters of 2021, manufacturers shipped almost 50 million PCs in the United States. And that's in addition to the hundreds of millions produces and shipped in previous years.
In addition to smartphones and PCs, there are untold millions of laptops, tablets, e0reasders and similar digital, or electronic, devices sold in the U.S. every year. In fact, the actual number of all these devices in really unknown. And the life cycle for most of them is about 2 to 5 years.
Which means most of the devices purchased between 2017 and 2020 are going to be hitting the trash going into 2022. And that's not counting everything out there bought and used before 2017.
Not Your Grandmother's Appliances: Smart Appliances and Bulk E-Waste
The last decade or so has ushered in the age of smart homes and smart appliances. From ovens, refrigerators, faucets, thermostats and more, the online home of the future is here. But electronics inside of otherwise very "analog" equipment like washers or microwaves is not new.
Which all leads to the thought: what do you do with that smart appliance you first purchased when your high school graduate was still in Kindergarten?
According to one authority,
"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."
That being said, smart devices, including large and small appliances, are multiplying rapidly in the United States. And, as they come to the end of their useful lives, they will be disposed of. And the onboard electronics post as much of a hazard as they do in computers and smartphones.
As an article at IEEE.org noted,
"Connected devices won't be in every home in the future, but they will become more common, and more people will come to rely on the features they offer. Which means we're set for an explosion of new electronic waste in the next five to ten years as these devices reach the end of their life-spans."
And each year right after the holidays, there is are small "explosions" of new electronic waste, or e-waste, that occur as we dispose of old devices after getting new ones for Christmas.
When It Comes to TVs, Size Matters Apparently
Before the advent of flat screen TVs, a big television usually meant a massive cabinet that took up half of one wall in the den or living room. And the screen size could be a whopping
But nowadays, according to a piece at USA TODAY,
"In screen size, 80 may be the new 50. With Americans buying bigger TVs – NPD found 65-in. and larger TVs growing from 13% of sales in 2018 to 21% in 2020 – manufacturers now aim to make 80-inch displays mainstream."
In fact, it's become something of an urban meme: the hapless consumer seen in a shopping store parking lot, struggling to fit their new flat screen TV into their not-quite-big-enough vehicle!
The real problem, however, is that many of those older flat screen TVs end up getting tossed out after a few years of use, often to be replaced by one that is bigger and better. And, since the life span of most flat screen units is anywhere from 3 to 8 years depending on the technology, there are millions of old sets hitting the municipal solid waste stream every year.
So, what's the problem with all this e-waste?
First of all, there are problems with toxic materials leaching into the environment when these devices and appliances end up in landfills. This leaching can expose the environment and people to high levels of contaminants such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. These, in turn, can lead to irreversible health effects, including cancers, miscarriages, neurological damage and diminished IQs.
In addition, the EPA notes that, historically in the United States, of the millions of tons of e-waste that ends up in the waste stream, only about 25 percent of it is collected for recycling. And that means that the rest of it is disposed of primarily in landfills, where the precious metals they contain cannot be recovered.
Here's a Holiday Tip: Don't Dispose of E-Waste - Recycle Electronics Instead
Depending on where you live in the country, you may not be able to legally throw your e-waste into your residential trash bins nor dumpsters you might come across. But you also don't want to keep all that old, electronic junk around the house for years.
The good news is that electronic recycling is the answer.
As one source explains, there are at least three major benefits derived from recycling e-waste:
Recycling the waste from electronics saves space in the landfills and prevents the environmental pollution caused by the toxins. Recycling also reduces the need for landfills in the first place.
Good for the Economy
Goods made from recycled materials use less water, create less pollution, and uses less energy. Recycling also reduces the production costs of goods by avoiding manufacturing components from scratch.
Reuse of Resources
Electronics contain a lot of components that can be re-utilized sometimes without any processing, saving resources and energy required for initial manufacturing. A lot of big companies like Apple have their own recycling facility where they dispose of electronics for future reuse and this is something that all big companies should strive for.
And the even better news is that you don't have to tackle this as a DIY project after the holidays. You can just call on the King, instead.
Junk King, that is!
Recycling Old Electronics and E-Waste with Junk King
We can provide you with an affordable, easy, and efficient option for your e-waste recycling needs.
Junk King provides professional junk hauling services to remove any of your junk items including anything made with glass, metal, paper, and plastic . In addition to old electronics and other types of e-waste, we can even remove your excess holiday trash and garbage.
We also have the equipment and teams to remove a large refrigerators and other appliances down stairways, up your basement steps, or out through your garage.
No matter what your junk consists of, as long as it's not household hazardous waste, or HHW, Junk King can help you get it out of your way. We provide an eco-friendly junk removal service to help you get rid of any type of unwanted junk, including large trash items and any old appliances.
Our professional and insured junk removal team will show up at your home or office, and we'll call 15 to 30 minutes before we arrive. Once there, we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck.
You point and we haul your unwanted items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Make an appointment with us by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).