Certainly there are financial benefits for enterprises and institutions that incorporate electronic waste recycling into their operations. Computer recyclers perform another valuable service. In addition to helping their e-recycling customers maximize return on IT asset investments, electronic waste recycling keeps toxic materials out of our landfills and environment.
If you’re wondering if recycling the amount of electronic waste in your office really makes a difference, it does. Consider the facts:
- 80 to 85 percent of electronic products were discarded in landfills or incinerators, which can release certain toxics into the air.
- E-waste represents 2 percent of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70 percent of overall toxic waste. The extreme amount of lead in electronics alone causes damage in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the blood and the kidneys.
- 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.
- Cell phones and other electronic items contain high amounts of precious metals like gold or silver. Americans dump phones containing over $60 million in gold/silver every year.
- Only 12.5 percent of e-waste is currently recycled.
- For every 1 million cell phones that are recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
- Recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity 3,657 U.S. homes use in a year.
- E-waste is still the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America, according to the EPA.
- A large number of what is labeled as “e-waste” is actually not waste at all, but rather whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery.
- It takes 539 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor.
- Electronic items that are considered to be hazardous include, but are not limited to:
- Televisions and computer monitors that contain cathode ray tubes
- LCD desktop monitors
- Laptop computers with LCD displays
- LCD televisions
- Plasma televisions
- Portable DVD players with LCD screens
Every piece of IT equipment that gets into the hands of R2 certified computer recyclers keeps it from ending up in landfills where it can pollute the environment. Electronic waste recycling isn’t just the lucrative thing for businesses to do; it’s the responsible thing.