Electronic waste recycling is essentially the process used to reduce electronic waste by reusing as many parts (of old, broken or unwanted appliances) as possible to make new or reconditioned machines. This is a type of waste that many of us don’t often think about, because unlike the everyday waste we generate, like food scraps, bottles, cans, tins, packets, etc., it’s often not viewed as waste, with many of us believing that when we throw our old smartphones or appliances away, that they’ll be put to use again. That, sadly, isn’t the case.
Most electronic waste is disposed of either by a) burying it in landfills where poisons like cadmium, lead and mercury leak and seep into the soil and make their way into our water sources, or b) by burning it so these noxious poisons are released into the atmosphere and then make their way back down via rainfall where they once again contaminate our water sources and destroy plant life.
Electronic recycling is therefore a form of recycling that we all need to be aware of and there are many items that we can recycle, or even better, reuse. Electronic appliances that are still in working condition can be sold or given away to a local charity, or by placing a free ad in your local classifieds or on a website like Gumtree.
Giving something that you no longer have use for is easy and something we should all be doing more of, and in addition to reducing the environmental impact of its disposal, you can also help someone else out, perhaps someone in need of financial assistance who could use an appliance or device that you no longer have need for.
What Can Be Recycled?
It’s actually very easy to find out if your electrical appliances can be recycled, in fact, there are just four questions that you’ll need to answer.
- Is it powered by a battery?
- Does it have a plug?
- Is it a rechargeable device?
- Does it have the sign of a bin with a cross through it?
If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, then yes, your electronic or digital device can be recycled at your local recycling centre, or as discussed above, if it’s still in good working order it can be reused, so sell it, give it away to a charity in your local area, or take out a free ad and offer it for collection.
What Will It Be Used For?
That naturally depends on the materials contained in the appliance or device, but a great number of the materials found in, for example, a smartphone or a toaster, can be recycled and used to produce a new product. Plastic is a good example here, as is aluminium, copper wiring, and practically everything else that goes into any device or appliance.
While digital and electronic products are getting cheaper by the day, we must still be responsible global citizens and not consume simply because we can, and we must also dispose responsibly of the waste we generate. And recycling is the hands down the best way to achieve this.