While more and more people here in the United States are embracing recycling their electronic waste, it’s not always easy. Not every company that claims to recycle electronic waste is ethical, with many sending their “recycled” products overseas to Tech Graveyards in developing countries or using loopholes in the big-name e-waste certifications to hide their less-than-savory practices. How can you know for sure that your old electronics are actually being recycled safely and legally? Responsible ewaste recycling can take a lot of research and time that most of us just don’t have available in our busy lives. One solution is to look for companies that are transparent about their process and what they do.
Let’s take a look at some of the other roadblocks to efficient e-waste recycling, and some solutions to make it easier for you to build recycling into your everyday life.
While some computers and electronics are still designed to be easily disassembled and reassembled for repair, it’s become increasingly common for big-name electronics producers to build their phones, laptops, and even desktops to be difficult to take apart and even more difficult to put back together. This has created a shift away from repairing broken electronics and instead led to a culture where any time electronics are broken or malfunctioning, they are simply tossed aside and replaced.
While this has led to a serious problem, with over 100 million pieces of electronics replaced every year, there is a solution. The creation of electronics that can be repaired as opposed to simply replaced would go a long way towards reducing the overwhelming pile of electronics finding their way into our landfills. Without electronics producers taking this step, however, the problem of electronics being tossed aside will only continue to grow.
Taking in e-waste for recycling is not an inexpensive business model. We’ve spoken before about how rapidly electronics lose their initial value, and how recycling electronics will often cost an e-waste recycling company more money than the electronics themselves are worth.
One solution to the sometimes overwhelming problem of cost is simply for recycling companies to charge by weight, number of pallets, or per piece of individual electronics they take in. Another solution involves take-back or donation programs that some retailers (like Best Buy) offer, allowing consumers to drop off their old cell phones, gaming consoles, or computers at locations close to home. The retailers or nonprofits running the donation program take on the costs involved in recycling or reuse.
The final problem is a simple lack of awareness. While e-waste recycling becomes more and more important (and half of the states in the USA have passed laws regulating e-waste disposal to some extent), it seems like your average American resident is still largely unaware of the toxic materials inside electronics and the damage they can do to the environment long-term. While e-waste recycling companies and environmentalists work to raise awareness, it’s not exactly feasible to go door-to-door making sure everyone hears about how important e-waste recycling is.
The solution here is really just a matter of banding together. Federal, state, and local governments working in tandem with the producers and manufacturers of electronics, as well as e-waste recycling companies like EARecycling, would be able to commit resources to awareness campaigns that would be better able to find your average residential or commercial electronics consumers where they are and let them know about the importance and benefits of partnering with an e-waste recycler to ensure that electronics stop finding their way into landfills worldwide.
These three issues are the three biggest problems that the ewaste recycling industry is fighting right now. Though if we work together, we can solve all these problems and work towards a greener tomorrow.Electronic Asset Recycling has made it our passion not only to safely and legally recycle old and outdated electronics, but also to work within our community to help raise awareness on the importance of making sure electronics are always recycled and never just tossed aside. Looking to request a pickup or drop off your electronics with us? We’d love to speak with you! You can reach us by phone at (800) 746-1823 or contact us online today!