Recycling of Electronics Deserves More Attention

Recycling of Electronics Deserves More Attention

We all use electronic devices, but how are we disposing of them?
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How are you disposing of your electronics? #recycling

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Green Builder Media

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 10:10am

CAMPAIGN: Ethical and Sustainable Living


We're fortunate to live in a time when an increasing number of people recognize the importance of protecting the environment. While there's certainly a long way to go, both on a broad, government-level scale and in our day-to-day lives, the point is being emphasized around the world that green efforts are absolutely necessary for the sustainability of healthy life on Earth. And for a lot of us, it begins with recycling at home.

The only problem is, home recycling is something a lot of people misunderstand, or at least address incomplete. Most are aware that certain everyday products—glass bottles, plastic cartons, cardboard boxes, and the like—belong in the recycling bin. However, when it comes to many other waste products, they end up in the trash instead of being recycled carefully. Electronic products are often at the top of the list of household items that fall into this category. 

One reason for this is that a lot of people simply aren't aware of the serious need to recycle such products. And in other cases, people just aren't sure how to go about doing it. So here's a bit of information to address both issues.

Why Recycle Electronic Products?

The easy answer to this is that electronic products are recyclable, and thus you may as well do it. Not every sort of household item or everyday product can be reused or broken down for more responsible disposal, but for those that can, it's our responsibility to make it happen. However, there are also specific reasons that electronic products in particular are important to keep out of landfills—and most actually directly concern human health, as opposed to simply environmental concerns. 

Specifically, Green Citizen lists "a plethora of toxic components" that commonly exist in electronic items ready for disposal, including mercury, lead, cadmium, lithium, and a few others. These sorts of chemicals can cause a number of horrific problems in humans who come into excessive contact with them, including brain, heart, liver, and kidney defects, as well as issues with the nervous and reproductive systems. In short, simply dumping used electronics into landfills, or burning them off (as happens in some countries), allows potentially dangerous chemicals to become part of the environment.