Take a minute and think about what you did with the last electronic device that you owned after it finally stopped working. If you’re like most people, you probably just threw it in the trash.
I’ll bet you didn’t realize that it has been estimated that each year as much as two million tons of old electronic devices end up in landfills all across the world. It doesn’t make any sense at all for us to be polluting our landfills with our old computers, cell phones, TV’s, and other electronic devices.
Most people don’t realize that there is actually quite a bit of material that can be recycled from old televisions and computers. The responsible thing to do when your electronics stop working is to recycle them.
The act of recycling electronics is called eCycling and it’s not only the responsible thing to do but it also may end up helping your local community. Oftentimes you may think that your old computer or old television is beyond repair but in the hands of someone with a little bit of skill these old devices can sometimes be given new life. They are often donated to schools and other charities who might not otherwise be able to afford them.
When these devices can’t be repaired, they can be disassembled and the individual parts are recycled. For example, the glass that is in television’s can be melted down and reused. Additionally, almost all modern devices are made primarily of plastic. After a little bit of disassembly, this plastic can be recycled and made into new items.
Another very important reason for eCycling is that electronic devices often contain toxic materials that really shouldn’t end up in our landfills. I’ll bet you didn’t realize that television’s often contain a significant amount of lead. Printed circuit boards contain chromium, cadmium, lead, and mercury. According to one article that I read on the Internet, some televisions and computer monitors may contain as much as 4 pounds of lead each!
If you’re wondering where you can take your old broken cell phone, the EPA has a great webpage that will give you lots of ideas about how you can become an eCycler. Here’s a link to that webpage: EPA eCycling Resource
The next time you’re thinking about throwing away an electronic device, I hope you remember this article. It’s irresponsible to contaminate our landfills with toxic materials that are in electronic devices. I’ll bet you wouldn’t go dump your used motor oil on the ground. Putting electronics in the trash is really no different that doing that because the contaminants all end up in the same place. Remember that living a green lifestyle isn’t only about using compact fluorescent light bulbs to save on your energy bill. There’s hardly any aspect of our lives that can’t be made better if we act responsibly and recycle as much as we can.