These days, it seems as though we cycle through more electronics in a few short years than previous generations did in an entire lifetime. Whether it’s time to upgrade to the newest iPhone or replace the tablet that accidentally got dropped into the pool, we upgrade and replace our gadgets to a shocking degree. In fact, the EPA estimates that we dispose of 20 to 50 million metric tons of electronics every year—and this ewaste accounts for 70 percent of all toxic waste.
That’s a lot of wasted material, especially when you consider how much of it can be responsibly recycled for reuse via new manufacturing. Here are the top reasons why recycling your electronics is the responsible and financially smart thing to do.
Electronic Recycling Has Never Been Easier
If you’ve ever asked yourself “Where can you recycle electronics?” you’re not alone. It’s true that the actual process of recycling electronics is much trickier than standard plastic and paper. Electronics are manufactured from various materials including metals, glass and plastics, so it takes a special process to properly recycle the materials of the device so they do not become toxic landfill waste.
But the method of donating those electronics to be recycled? It’s as easy as can be. From Austin’s Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center to nonprofits like Call2Recycle.org, there are plenty of places that offer drop-off locations for your cell phones, laptops, TVs, rechargeable batteries and more. Plenty of retailers and manufacturers offer this option, too, so that you can mail in or drop off electronics. Check with P, Best Buy, Sprint, Xerox and more to find their options. And of course, at Gardner, we offer simple and convenient e-waste recycling at our South Austin facility.
It’s Dangerous Not to Recycle Your Electronics
If you’re throwing away your electronics with the rest of your trash, they’re going to end up in an already-overflowing landfill. Plenty of the trash here—things like food waste and yard clippings—will naturally decompose. Electronics, on the other hand, will not. Because they’re full of lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic, they can leak into our water supply and ecosystem, creating harmful effects for animals and humans alike. Still not convinced? Cadmium is listed as a human carcinogen that causes lung and liver damage. The other chemicals are just as dangerous, causing a range of effects such neuromuscular changes, respiratory damage and even cancer.
Your Devices Can Be Reused
Your outdated laptops and cell phones may seem like junk to you, but they contain precious, rare metals that can take on new life when properly recycled. According to the EPA, for every million cell phones recycled, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. Instead of further contributing to overflowing landfills, those metals can be melted and reused in manufacturing new devices or other products.
Ewaste Recycling Saves You Money
As mentioned above, there are plenty of retailers and manufacturers that offer drop-off or mail-in options for computer and electronics recycling. Many of these will offer generous discounts on your next purchase or replacement after your donation. On the flip side, if your electronics aren’t just outdated but completely inoperable, you can donate them to a recycling center to be recycled for new manufacturing, and they’ll pay you for your donated materials. This is especially true if you’re a business with bulk items to get rid of.
If you’re an Austinite, Gardner Metals is just the Austin electronic recycling center you’re looking for. We’re a family-owned and operated team that has been in business for fifty years. We’ll be happy to take your old equipment off your hands—and we’ll pay you for the privilege, too. Contact us if you have any questions about what can be recycled, or just come on down and visit us with your scraps in tow, and we’ll pay you on the spot for what we can recycle. With a little teamwork, we can work together to help make our environment a healthier place.