Did you know that every day, Americans throw away 142,000 computers and more than 416,000 mobile devices? These computers and mobile devices are an example of electronic waste—or ewaste—that we generate from excess, broken and obsolete electronic devices. Take a moment and think about the smartphones and MacBooks that you’ve replaced with newer models every few years, as well as the new gadgets and electronics that have eventually broken or fallen out of trend. Now multiply that by the billions of people living on our planet, and the truth is alarmingly clear: we’ve got a whole lot of ewaste that isn’t being disposed of properly.
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. As stewards of the earth, we need to be responsible about the health of our environment. So how do we go about properly disposing of all that electronic waste? It’s simple—e-recycling.
Unlike our general trash and recyclables, we can’t just throw old laptops and electronics in the trash. Electronics are filled with dangerous chemicals like lead, cadmium and arsenic that can leak into our ecosystem, with damaging effects for us as well as animal and plant life. That’s where e-recycling steps in, allowing us to responsibly dispose of our ewaste so that we can recover the materials from these old devices to be reused in new manufacturing.
How Does E-recycling Help the Environment?
Computer recycling and the recycling of old and broken electronics helps to conserve our earth’s energy—the EPA even states that recycling one million laptops can save the energy equivalent of electricity that could run 3,657 US homes for a year. This is important because electronics use a lot of natural resources to manufacture and run. In fact, it takes 1.5 tons of water, 530 pounds of fossil fuels and 48 pounds of chemicals to manufacture a single desktop computer and monitor.
Recycling allows manufacturers to reuse the rare and limited earth metals that are found in ewaste, such as aluminum, copper, silver and even gold. By recycling one million cell phones, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 35,274 pounds of copper and 33 pounds of palladium. It’s clear that recycling electronics helps us to recover and reuse rare earth metals and conserve natural resources, which leads to reduced pollution and less necessary landfill waste.
How and Where Do I Recycle My Ewaste?
Even though electronic waste shouldn’t go in the municipal waste bins that our cities pick up for us, it’s still simple to recycle it. Here are the best ways to recycle your ewaste responsibly:
- Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center: As an Austin resident, you can drop off used electronics at this city-sponsored center. Your laptops, mobile devices and all other electronics will be collected and sent for processing, where they can take on new life as new manufacturing.
- Bring them to a retailer: Plenty of manufacturers and retailers of electronics offer ways to responsibly recycle your used electronics. Companies like HP, Best Buy, Sprint, Xerox and more host various recycling options, including mail-in, in-store drop off and special events. Check with the manufacturers of your products or the retailers you bought them from, or consult this list to search by specific device or company.
- Sell ewaste at your local recycling center: At Gardner Metals, we accept all kinds of electronics—from electric motors and motherboards to power supplies, heat sinks and more! If you’re not sure about whether or not we’ll buy your ewaste, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to answer your questions. Best of all, unlike the other recycling drop-off options, we’ll pay you on the spot for anything we take!
It’s not just electronics that need responsible recycling—metal is another material that you can’t just throw out on garbage day with the rest of your trash. But here at Gardner Metals, we make metal and computer recycling as easy as can be. No matter what type of metal you need to get rid of, we’re here to help take those scraps off your hands—we even offer payment for materials and offer pickup service! Contact us at Gardner Metal Recycling today.