How do you define eco-friendly living? When you picture a responsible and sustainable lifestyle, you might think of driving a fuel-efficient vehicle or recycling plastic bottles. However, if you’re like most people, you neglect to consider the role that smartphones, laptops, and other devices you’ve come to rely on play in modern environmental concerns.
With a bit of understanding and personal motivation, you hold the potential to make a huge difference while tackling e-waste — one of today’s most alarming environmental issues!
What Is E-Waste & Why Is It So Alarming?
Electronic waste consists of all technological devices and parts sent to landfills or otherwise improperly discarded by individuals and businesses. These items are made up of materials that are notoriously resistant to decomposition. Worse, they typically contain toxins such as cadmium and lead. When devices are dumped in landfills, their toxins ultimately leach into the nearby environments, prompting huge health and safety concerns.
While e-waste is far from new, its pace is quickly accelerating as the average consumer purchases (and gets rid of) devices far more often than in the past. Most people can only make their smartphones last two or three years, with some replacing these devices even more often. Similarly, computer and laptop upgrades occur frequently — usually when the previous tech remains perfectly functional.
The desire for new technology is understandable, especially given the short lifespan of many devices and the rapid pace at which top-of-the-line features are released. Unfortunately, in their eagerness to score the latest gadgets, many consumers forget that their old devices still need attention. The solution lies in not hiding devices away in a drawer or, worse, throwing them in the trash. Instead, products should be recycled by experts who understand how to make the most of their parts and materials!
If we don’t make a more significant effort to recycle, the long-term implications could be devastating. Already, electronics are responsible for 70% of toxic waste, despite constituting just 2-3% of total municipal waste.
What’s more, the United Nations reports that, at the international level, we produce 50 million tons of e-waste per year. Americans are among the greatest offenders, throwing away an estimated $55 billion in e-waste material every year.
How to Properly Recycle E-Waste
With electronics, recycling isn’t as simple or as straightforward as placing your device in a convenient receptacle. This works fine for plastic bottles, but tech such as smartphones or laptops require additional attention. First, it’s essential to determine whether your device has reached the point of needing to be recycled. Depending on how old it is or how it functions, it’s possible that a simple repair would get it back in working order.
If you’re still committed to upgrading, consider selling your old device to a service that will refurbish and resell it. These companies are often willing to accept items with cracked screens and other forms of damage. If your electronics are beyond repair, the next best option is recycling. Be careful as you select a resource; not all e-waste recycling services are reputable. Some send e-waste to developing nations that cannot properly recycle technological devices. At many facilities, employees are exposed to significant hazards.
To avoid contributing to alarming e-waste practices, you must search for e-Stewards certification as you select a recycler. Supported by the Basel Action Network (BAN), this network emphasizes responsible, ethical, and eco-friendly handling of recyclable electronics. Waste management and recycling companies with this certification can be counted on to handle all recyclable items they receive with care, making every effort to limit environmental exposure to toxins while also minimizing harmful employee practices.
How you handle electronics recycling will depend, to an extent, on whether you’re acting as an individual with one or two devices or an enterprise with more extensive recycling needs. With commercial recycling, it’s important to find a provider that takes specific types of assets. Some businesses also prefer to work with recycling companies that offer extra services such as data wiping or destruction, enhancing security, and providing much-needed peace of mind.
Whether you’re recycling devices on your own or as a business, you should have no trouble finding an ethical option in your region. Search for “e-waste recycling near me” with a program such as e-Stewards that provides plenty of oversight. This will give you information on nearby e-waste drop-off locations, as well as each handler’s specific services and policies.
NerdsToGo: Recycling, Repairs, and More
If eco-friendly living is a priority, you’ll be pleased to learn that you can incorporate this into your technological pursuits with help from the team at NerdsToGo. Our repair services, in particular, are useful in this regard; our Nerds can get your devices working so that you don’t need to discard them at the first sign of trouble. From computer monitors to smartphones and everything in between, we are happy to help.
In addition to offering residential and commercial repairs and other services, NerdsToGo provides free e-waste drop-off during the week of Earth Day. Feel free to stop by with up to three devices you need to discard, and we’ll take care of the rest.
Contact us today to learn more about the many eco-friendly services our certified Nerds provide!