You broke your phone screen or decided to upgrade your laptop. Maybe you have no use for your printer, or you’re finally ready to ditch the ancient VCR in the basement. What to do with these useless products, which are all potential e-waste, a term used to describe unwanted, failing, or dying electronics, including computers, laptops, TVs, smart phones, computer monitors, stereos, and copiers?
- Discarded electronics make up just 2% of disposed goods in American landfills but account for a whopping 70% of toxic waste.
- 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.
- Only 12.5% of e-waste is currently recycled.
- According to the EPA, our beloved electronics are the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America.
Did you know most electronics can (and should) be reused, refurbished, or recycled to extend their lives and maximize the energy and resources that went into their production? At this point, nearly half of US states have banned disposal of electronics in landfills, which means they must provide an alternative disposal method.
- There are outlets that pay for barely-functioning phones and laptops with no charger.
- Many local schools and non-profits rely heavily on donated electronics and happily take functioning equipment.
- Some companies accept returns of their old products (especially computers) to be refurbished or used for parts.
- Most municipalities have E-Waste collection points for proper recycling or repurposing. And companies, like Staples, will recycle your old electronics for free.
Next time you find yourself with an electronic you no longer need, google “How to recycle or repair or refurbish ________.”
It’s the right thing to do for the planet.