Who wouldn’t want the latest version of the iPad? Is it time to upgrade your cellphone to the newest Smartphone? Electronic devices are ubiquitous in our society. They are in everyone’s hand, car, and home, have become increasingly prevalent in daily discussions, and are an important part of our culture.
Electronics are a basic tool in how we are educated, how we communicate, and how we are entertained. As the demand for electronics increases, companies create more and more new devices, which results in an increasing number of consumers who have to decide what to do with their old devices.
When consumers contemplate what to do with the old electronics, their first instinct may be to throw them in the garbage. By doing so, they are hurting the environment. If the devices end up in the landfills, then society loses out on the many benefits of recycling.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2009, approximately 438 million new electronic products were sold, but only about 25% of that number of old devices were collected for recycling. What happens to the other devices that are not recycled?
If they end up in a landfill, there will be an increase in air and water pollution. Many electronics contain hazardous or toxic chemicals, such as lead and mercury, which can cause public health issues and environmental problems. On top of the pollution concerns, landfills consume valuable space and are unappealing to look at.
Recycling can only be beneficial to a society. It conserves natural resources, protects public heath, and preserves the environment for future generations. Parts from recycled electronic devices can be re-used in other products. For example, when cell phones are recycled, the metals, plastics, and rechargeable batteries can be used in new materials and merchandise.
These pieces can be used in jewelry, other electronic devices, and automotive parts. The plastics on a cellphone can be turned into garden furniture and license plate frames. Recycling not only reduces the need for new metals and plastics, but it also saves energy.
The EPA reports that recycling one million laptops saves energy equal to the electricity used by 3,657 homes in one year. These are just a few of the benefits from recycling.
The next time you drive around your neighborhood, you may notice televisions, computers, or other electronics at the curb waiting for the garbage truck bring them to the landfill. Fortunately, many towns now make it easy to recycle electronics.
Montvale provides a special container at the town’s recycling center, specifically for these types of devices. Prior to this, people had to bring the electronics to a county recycling center further away, which was a hassle for most people. Now there is no excuse.
Recycling benefits our society and the environment, and it is now easier to do your part. All you have to do is load you car with used electronics and bring them down to the recycling center. Electronics are everywhere in our society, and every day new ones are being produced. We have to make the right decisions when disposing old devices, and recycling is the best solution.