What is E-Waste?

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Written by Anthony Morelli

On January 15, 2018

Excerpts taken from: E-Waste & The Importance of Electronic Recycling by Rick LeBlanc.

E-waste is growing, and with that surge comes the need for effective electronics recycling programs. People are urgently looking for information on TV recycling, computer recycling, and other programs that will help them responsibly get rid of unwanted equipment while minimizing any risk of information or identity theft. With new cheap devices, society has reaped tremendous benefits. This explosive growth in the electronics industry, however, has led to a rapidly escalating issue of end-of-life (EOL) electronics or e-waste.

This issue is receiving considering increased attention by policymakers, industry, and consumers alike. This is good news because many consumers are still not sure how to safely dispose of old computers, smartphones or other electronic devices. According to one report, nearly 75 percent of old electronics continue to be stored in households because of the unavailability of convenient recycling options.

What Is E-Waste?

These EOL electronic devices, also known as e-waste and e-scrap, includes such items as dated computer equipment, stereos, televisions and mobile phones. Such items can often be refurbished or recycled, yet a large amount still finds its way to the landfill. Current Low Recycling Rates Combined with the rapid growth, recent recycling rates are still inadequate. For example, for 2009, the U.S. EPA reported that only eight percent of cell phones were recycled by weight, along with 17 percent of televisions, and 38 percent of computers.

How Can Consumers Recycle Their Old Electronics Devices?

Consumers have access to a number of recycling opportunities, depending upon where they live. Thinking in terms of the electronics recycling hierarchy, the best choice is to donate computer equipment that can be refurbished or reused as-is, provided that personal information is scrubbed from devices. Other recycling opportunities include authorized electronics recycler locations, electronics recycling events, or corporate take back programs such as those offered by BestBuy. Additionally, other programs are available to help consumers with the recycling of cell phones and batteries, such as through Call2Recycle. Also Blue Ridge Hospice is now accepting donates for electronics recycling.

(Submitted by TechComm Committee)

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