Because of ease and entertainment value electronics have become an everyday staple for almost every household. This only becomes problematic when proper recycling methods are not used, and without the correct information, you may be disposing of the items improperly and causing harmful damage to the environment.
There are many myths about what to do with E-waste, so here are the most common ones to help clarify the information.
It All Goes to a Landfill
This myth is not true because recycling E-waste is no different than recycling standard products. Professional organizations work to ensure that they have processes in place for dismantling the electronics to ensure that materials that could potentially be harmful do not end up in a landfill.
The system can involve refurbishing and recycling the electronics while also collecting any components that might be valuable. If a part does end up in the landfill, there are efforts to recycle materials such as precious metals and to ensure the toxic components are disposed of properly.
The E-Waste Isn't That Big of a Deal in a Landfill
This myth can be potentially hazardous, particularly with mobile devices. That’s because, in most cases, they can be dangerous for the environment.
Lead and mercury are commonly used and can leach into the ground, which can cause issues with nervous systems and development in humans. There are also other toxic materials such as barium, lithium, and flame retardants that need to avoid incinerators and landfills, so it is essential to take the proper steps for recycling.
Only Large Items Are Recyclable
When it comes to recycling electronics, the size doesn't make a difference. You can recycle cell phones, computers, imaging equipment, and many others.
In fact, it is even more essential for items with small screens to be recycled, because a large number of toxic materials are used in them. This makes it critical to ensure that you recycle items like smartphones to prevent them from ending up in a waste processing plant.
There Is Too Little Material to Make It Worthwhile
You may have also heard that it's not worth recycling because it takes more energy to recycle the items versus the value. However, this is not true because some rare components are used in the devices.
One example is that if 1,000,000 people were to recycle their cell phones, it could provide 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 35,000 pounds of copper. And if you consider how many cell phones are replaced every year just in the United States, you can see how this number could add up quickly.
The truth is that the materials can leach into the ground causing long-term effects that can create a more expensive clean-up process due to poisons getting into the environment. In addition to this, recycling companies create jobs for individuals, while at the same time helping to produce more sustainable options for energy production.
The Cities Recycling Center Takes Care of It
Another myth that people believe is that they assume that their city will take care of the recycling themselves. In most cases, it never happens because any recycling programs that are in place are focused on other types of materials. This means that the city's program doesn't have a system to process any electronics thrown out with the rest of the trash.
One of the biggest things you can do is look at any guidelines your city has with an electronics recycling program because they may be able to recommend designated areas or recycling organizations where you can drop off the items.
You Can Risk Your Information If You Recycle E-Waste
Another concern individuals have is that if they recycle their electronics, their personal information may be at risk to hackers. The truth is that if the device doesn't have any internal storage, then you can mitigate this by doing a full reset, erasing any data that's on the device.
It is also not uncommon for a recycling center to shred any hard drives that they receive to restrict anyone from gaining access to the data on them.
It All Ends Up Overseas
This statement has some truth because a large amount of E-waste does get shipped overseas. This is problematic because, in most cases, the waste is burned or improperly buried, making the situation even more critical. This is why there is a greater push to ensure that all electronics are disposed of and recycled correctly rather than sent to other countries.
E-Recycling Is Optional
There is another myth that recycling your electronics is not something you have to do, but the truth is that there may be laws around certain types of e-waste requirements depending on where you live.
Some states have a disposal ban that prevents individuals from placing E-waste in different landfills. And at the same time, some laws require responsible manufacturing methods, so the product is correctly disposed of at the end of its life.
LJP Waste Solutions: Sustainability Promotion Through Education
As you can see, with all the myths out there it could be quite confusing if an individual wasn't sure how to recycle their items. But with the proper knowledge, you can make the changes to help create a healthier environment for everyone in your community.
LJP Waste Solutions is an environmentally minded company focusing on creating zero landfill companies through education and sustainability practices streamlined to meet our client's needs.
Our main goal is to help companies reduce their carbon footprint, so if you would like more information, contact us or give us a call at 507-625-1968 today.