Ewaste is a growing problem. As we keep adding new electronics to our lives (and who doesn’t want to get a new cell phone every two years!), we are then swamped with an excess of the old ones. Ewaste is defined as, basically, anything you can plug in. This means cell phones, refrigerators, TVs, keyboards, your monogrammed waffle iron, you name it. It also includes the “secondary” waste that comes from these products, like copper wire. The EPA estimates that only about 28% of all ewaste gets recycled. So what happens to the other 72% of ewaste? Unfortunately, that amount winds up in local landfills where lead, mercury, and other toxins soak into the ground. The hazards of ewaste are pretty severe and can cause serious health and pollution risks. Some ewaste is banned from landfills. In California, law prohibits cathode ray tubes from televisions and computer monitors from entering the landfill. Regardless, you never want to dump your ewaste in the landfill (this means keep it out of your trash and recycling bins). Ok, so now that you know what ewaste is, what do you do with it?
Here are a few tips for safe ewaste disposal:
1. Repair it! Maybe your laptop’s CD drive broke when your cat jumped on it. Instead of buying a whole new laptop, get the current one repaired! You may be asking where you can get such a thing done. Well, we built you a whole repair database, where you can search the item you need repaired and find a convenient location.
2. Re-purpose it! We can’t quite think of how to reuse that old laptop, but how about all the other ewaste you may have? Circuit board shoes not your idea of how to spend a Sunday? How about this cool way to reuse the keys in your keyboard- make a neat art project by spelling out the letters and putting them in a shadow box. Also check out our Pinterest page, where we find ways to re-purpose all sorts of items.
3. Recycle it! The ewaste you dispose of likely isn’t 100% recyclable, but many of the components are. Regardless, if you can’t figure out what else to do with your ewaste, your best bet is to take it to a collection event. Again, we have you covered- check out our events calendar for upcoming ewaste recycling events (usually there’s around one per weekend).
Have any questions about recycling? Contact us at 1-877-R-1-EARTH (1-877-713-2784)