With millions of Americans now working from home comes new computers and other electronics. And that means more old equipment, or e-waste, disposal.
Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, is not the kind of thing you can just throw into a trash can or dumpster. Not legally, anyway!
The Dark Side of Upgrading Your Home Office Technology
Maybe you went out and purchased your own new computer, monitor, printer, and other home office electronics, or your employer provided it for you. Either way, in addition to the excitement of getting to set up and try out new, state-of-the-art gear, there is the issue of getting rid of your old stuff.
The thing about electronics, especially smart gadgets and computer equipment, is that they are not the types of waste that should be in the regular waste stream. And, even if the equipment no longer works, there are significant amounts of recoverable and recyclable materials built into them.
The problem is that the vast majority of these unwanted or non-functioning e-waste items do end up as municipal solid waste, or MSW, and are either landfilled or incinerated.
In fact, it's estimated that around 55 million tons of e-waste are created every year, but this number keeps climbing due to industry practices and expansion, so it can be difficult to predict a precise number.
When this e-waste ends up in waste disposal facilities, both decaying in landfills or being incinerated pose toxic dangers.
According to Stream Recycling Solutions, e-waste contains a number of toxic materials including mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium. They note that,
"Many different metals and chemicals are used to create things like LCD screens, computer chips, and other materials that we use in so many electronic devices. Many of these materials are toxic, and when e-waste is improperly disposed of, they can leak into the environment and cause long-term problems. Lead is one of the biggest culprits, and can cause neurological damage in humans exposed to high amounts in the environment. Burning e-waste tends to release toxic particles into the air, where they settle in the surrounding landscape or are breathed in by nearby people."
In other words, it really is incumbent upon all of us to make sure that our old computer equipment and other unusable electronics - our e-waste - doesn't end up in the solid waste stream.
A Look at the World of E-Waste Disposal
The United States is one of the world's top producers of electronic waste after China. Considering that we only make up 4.27 percent of the world's population, we produce more total e-waste than any other nation aside from China with 18 percent.
In fact, the people of China generated more than 7.2 million metric tons in 2016 , while the U.S. piles up almost 6.3 million metric tons. Third place was the nation of Japan with only 2.1 million tons of e-waste generated.
We put together this graphic to illustrate some of the key statistics regarding the current state of e-waste recycling in the United States:
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Working From Home and E-Waste Disposal
Working from home means, among other things, not being constrained by company policies for garbage and trash disposal. In other words, you may not have to use a "recycling" bin at your desk, and there is no cleaning or janitorial service ensuring that waste is disposed of properly.
When you work from home, you set your own office waste policies and you are the janitor!
So, this means that e-waste disposal and recycling comes down to individual choices. In states like California, for example, even residential e-waste disposal practices are dictated by environmental laws. But state and federal laws do little to keep the average homeowner from simply tossing their old phones, tablets, and dead batteries into their household trash.
Remote workers should keep in mind that 100 percent of your old electronics can either be completely recycled, or at least dismantled to recycle or reclaim some components.
And those devices that have nothing reusable left in them can still be disposed of in a green and environmentally-friendly fashion.
Fortunately, in some locales, there are organizations that host e-waste collecting and recycling events. In addition, many municipal waste disposal companies have certain days each year specifically for collecting e-waste.
But if these options aren't available to you, and you aren't keen on figuring out how to take of this task yourself, you do have a local partner to take care of it all for you.
Professional E-Waste Disposal and Junk Removal
Junk King provides an efficient, safe and eco-friendly e-waste disposal service so you don’t have to take care of the pick up or disposal of those old electronic items.
Not only that, but we guarantee that your old electronics end up in the right place, whether that's a charity for electronics are still functioning, or a recycling facility to disposed of your e-waste in an environmentally-friendly way.
We will pick up and haul away almost all types of e-waste including computers, monitors, phones, printers, televisions, and more.
Ready to get rid of your old electronics? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.
Just make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).
Our professional and insured e-waste removal team will show up at your home or office. We'll call 15 minutes before we arrive and we’ll give you a free estimate based on how much room your junk takes up in our truck.
You simply point and we haul those items into our junk removal trucks, with no hidden fees.