Every day, each American throws away five pounds worth of waste. Given that over 328 million people are living in the United States, that’s an awful lot of waste disposal. However, that doesn’t even begin to get into e-waste and how along with general waste, it’s contributing to an ever-growing problem.
We store 55 tons of e-waste every year, and if you didn’t already know, it’s hurting the environment. E-waste contains mercury, lead, and cadmium among other toxic elements, and it’s heading directly into our wetlands, waterways, and the general atmosphere.
Not only does e-waste create a problem for junk removal and waste disposal specialists, but it’s just getting worse. Computer system lifespans have decreased from six to two years, and most businesses will update their worker’s phones every two years. Laptop and computer sales also increased by 20 percent in the last half a decade, meaning that there is an increasing demand for electronic goods.
If we don’t do something about e-waste now, we run the risk of ruining our planet. Fortunately, e-waste recycling can have some economic benefits. Want to save money and feel good about it? Then consider doing the following with your old computers and phones.
Precious Metal Recovery
As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That adage relates to e-waste too. Instead of looking at your junk removal options, take regeneration and recovery into your own hands. You’re sitting on a goldmine, and you don’t even know it.
The average consumer electronic contains a wealth of precious metals. Every time you throw away an old laptop or phone, you’re throwing away money. If you take the time to strip your electronics, you can retrieve copper, zinc, and sometimes gold. All of these metals get their use in electronic circuits, channels, and wiring.
Once you carefully recover all those precious metals, you can then start looking at your options for getting it back to the manufacturer to reuse. Alternatively, you can make contact with your local scrap yard and see what the monetary value of your goods are. You save it from landfill, and you make money – it’s win-win!
Give to Charity
We’re not saying that you have to give your e-waste to charity – they aren’t a junk removal or waste disposal business. We’re saying that you have to re-evaluate what you deem to be “waste” and whether someone else could benefit from your old phone or laptop. Just because your phone is not the latest or greatest, that doesn’t mean it’s now junk.
Before you throw your phone in the trash without a second thought, consider what charities are in your area who could benefit from it. While the economic benefit is minimal, the ethical and moral rewards are significant.
Save from Landfill – Recycle
Every piece of e-waste is an opportunity to recycle. Don’t discard all your unwanted e-waste at landfills and dumping centers. You are contributing to the problem. Instead, think of another purpose for the item. For example, let’s say you have an old funky looking computer screen that no longer serves a purpose. How cool would it look as a fish tank? Make it your new special project – to turn trash into treasure.
What’s more, as previously mentioned, if something still works but is not fit for your purpose, consider giving it to someone who needs it. It doesn’t have to end up at the bottom of a trash pile.
If you’re not much of a recycler, then find out if there are any e-waste disposal centers near you. There are some reputable gadgets recyclers for example – like Plunc who recycle everything from Samsung tablets to Apple products like MacBooks and iPads.
By utilizing such a service, you are giving several people jobs – thus boosting your local economy. They also have connections to ensure that whatever e-waste you bring has the least impact on the environment.
Current E-Waste Disposal Systems
Fortunately, governments are starting to realize that e-waste and the disposal of it is a problem. Therefore, your goal of trying to be more environmentally friendly and experience economic benefits is easier now than ever before.
In Europe, the product manufacturer pays for the collection and recycling of their waste. Therefore, if you buy a laptop from an electronics store, you can return it to the same store for recycling and collection at a later date.
In the United States, each state has its own e-waste recycling system. Take California, for example. When you buy electronic goods, you pay a little extra, and it goes into a state-controlled fund. That money then goes to recyclers and waste disposal businesses to collect and manage the waste. Think about how many jobs are generated with such systems!
You might not think it’s that much of a big deal to throw your laptop in the trash once you get a better one. However, all it takes is for 100,000 people to think the same thing, and you have a significant e-waste problem. That’s now the reality.
Fortunately, there are ways in which to tackle the problem, make money, recycle, and enjoy economic benefits. The next time you go to throw your old smartphone away because you’ve got a better one, think again.
About the Author
My name is Alison Hefer, I am originally from Cape Town, South Africa but I have spent the last few years in beautiful New Zealand. I write articles for various websites including Junkrun NZ and regularly contribute articles about the always changing world of SEO to Clickthrough NZ.