As you walk around your home, you probably see some sort of electronic device in every room. They are an essential part of your life. As time goes by, each of these devices will break down or become obsolete. You may have a drawer full of smartphones that have fallen into disuse. Somewhere in a dark corner is the old television set that was replaced by a flat screen model. Electronic recycling is an important practice for removing these old devices that has many important benefits.
Conserving Natural Resources
Every electronic device is comprised of components manufactured from different substances. Some devices can have as many as 60 different chemical elements. Computer recycling can make a big difference. When you recycle (rather than throw out) an old computer, you help limit the natural resources required to produce new electronics. There will be fewer mining operations digging for rare metals. There will be less petroleum used in making all of the plastic parts of those devices. Electronic recycling can also lower the cost of making new electronics, as elements like cadmium are cheaper to obtain from used electronics than from mining and chemical extraction.
Reduce Environmental Damage
Some of the elements that go into common electronic devices can be hazardous to the natural environment and human health. While they are safe enough in your device, they can cause serious problems when they are allowed to break down. Elements such as lead, cadmium and mercury are known to cause brain damage, cancer and other health issues. When a computer is thrown into a landfill, these heavy metals can leach out and contaminate local groundwater. Later these same elements will be found in water and food supplies. The element could be drawn into the roots of plants that are harvested and brought to your grocery store. Sometimes livestock animals may eat the contaminated plants. Responsible computer recycling can prevent this dangerous situation.
Recycling electronic devices is not a simple task. Each device must be disassembled into its components. The various components then need to be sorted, collected and processed. The labor required means that a recycling center that processes electronic waste will employ more workers. With the number of electronic devices in every home, a local electronic recycling center will support several full-time employees. This extra employment has a domino effect on the local economy, increasing the job market for retailers and service workers. With a large enough recycling plant, there may also be an increase in municipal jobs because of population growth. Good things can happen when people are responsible with their old devices.
Perhaps over time technology will improve. Our devices may not have to be made of heavy metals and other problematic compounds. Until then, we all need to consider how best to handle our obsolete electronics. Electronic recycling programs will keep those old devices out of landfills, leaving our environment a little cleaner. It is time to clear that drawer full of smartphones and get that old television out of the corner. Do your research and find a place where you can recycle them responsibly.
If you’re thinking of recycling your old laptop, there’s a good chance you could revitalize it and give it a new lease on life by just swapping out its battery! Just make sure you recycle your old battery.