New technology always brings new products and gadgets from time to time. So what do you end up doing with your old gadgets?
Where Does Your Electronic Waste Go?
All electronic waste is made up of deadly chemicals such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury and brominated flame retardants. Disposing of gadgets and devices improperly increases the chances of these dangerous chemicals contaminating the soil, polluting the air and leaching into water bodies.
When e-waste is deposited in a landfill, it tends to leach when water passes through it picking up trace elements. After which the contaminated landfill water reaches natural groundwater with increased toxic levels, this can be harmful if it enters any drinking water bodies.
Despite having an eco-friendly approach, recycling usually leads to overseas shipping and dumping the gadgets which are buried in pits. Worse still is the fact that some recycling companies ship e-waste to third world countries and disguise it as philanthropy.
A lot of children in such countries earn their livelihoods by scavenging gold, silver, iron, and copper from the tech waste which is harmful to their health. Countries that are used as dumping grounds usually have high rates of cybercrime as the salvaged hard drives can give criminals direct access to your personal files and information.
Here are some are some eco-friendly waste disposal techniques that you can use to dispose of electronic waste locally:
5. Give Your Electronic Waste to a Certified E-Waste Recycler
The positive aspect of e-waste recycling is that you have quite a few recycling options.
You need to find an e-waste recycler who is officially certified by the Basel Action Network (BAN). BAN is a non-profit organization of recycling companies which are dedicated to recycling e-waste in a safe and responsible way. All members have to make a pledge and display their Pledges of Responsible Recycling. So working alongside a certified recycler means that you don’t have to worry about polluting another nation or risk losing your personal details to criminals.
Precautions to Take Before Donating or Recycling Your Electronics
- Upgrade your computer instead of simply replacing it
- Format all your personal information from your products before discarding
- Take out the batteries from your gadgets before getting rid of them
4. Sell Off Your Outdated Technology
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure as the old saying goes. This can be applied to helping you get rid of your old electronics. You can tap into online sites like craigslist, eBay or even resort to having a garage sale as this will help you get rid of your outdated electronics as well as earning some money. Examples of this are old Nintendo video games which can sell for as high as $40 a piece. Most electronic shops are always ready to buy your old electronics.
3. Donating Your Outdated Technology
Old gadgets that you no longer need can be donated as they may be useful to others. Your old computer may be useful to either an NGO or students. You should ask yourself these 2 questions before disposing of your old electronics:
- Is the electronic item working?
- Does the computer have any of your personal information?
A lot of organizations and businesses offer electronic donation programs which you can choose from.
2. Visit Civic Institutions
Enquire amongst your government, universities, and schools for any recycling programs they run as a lot of organizations have started assigning a certain day and place for environmentally conscious citizens to come and drop off their e-waste.
1. Give Back to Your Electronic Companies and Drop Off Points
A lot of electronic companies tend to have an exchange policy whereby they take back your old gadgets when you buy a later version, sometimes offering you a discount on your new purchase.
A few recycling companies have set up electronic drop off initiatives along with drop off points for products such as cell phones and tablets after which they are recycled. You can ask your local electronics shops regarding any information about drop off locations.
Safeguard Both the Environment and Your Sensitive Information
Electronics are an important part of our lives today but the flipside is the e-waste that comes along with it. So make sure to format your electronic devices before disposing of them in a proper manner as the consequences of not doing so can be painful.
Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling equipments can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog
Also, check what are the responsibilities of producers under E-waste handling rules 2011?