Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Recycling your electronics

E-waste is a term used to describe electronic products that have become non-working or obsolete, and it is one of the fastest growing waste streams globally.

According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2017, 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste was generated in 2016. And by 2021 it is expected to grow to 52.2 million.

Today there are more cell phones than there are people on earth. We’re constantly upgrading our phones, computers, and TVs. But what are we doing with the old devices?

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15 to 20 percent of e-waste is recycled. The rest of these electronics go directly into landfills, incinerators and are illegally exported to other countries.

The danger here? Most electronic components possess toxic elements that are harmful to humans and the environment. So it’s important to dispose of your gadgets properly.

The E-cycling Central website allows you to select your city and state to find a trusted electronics recycler near you. But before you do, make sure you erase all of your data first.

Another tip: don’t throw away your batteries! They’re made from poisonous materials that can harm the environment. Take them to the nearest Best Buy and they’ll dispose of them for free. Firestone offers the same thing for car batteries.

According to the EPA, recycling one million laptops saves energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 homes in a year. And for every million cell phones we recycle, 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.

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