Approximately 1.5 billion phones are sold every year, which means around as many are being thrown away each year too. Maybe they end up in your junk drawer for a few years, but one day they all make their way to the landfill. In fact, 70% of toxic waste in landfills is from electronics.
It’s a bleak picture when the world is so focused on going green. But fortunately, there is a solution and it comes in the form of e-cycling.
What Is E-Cycling?
E-cycling is the process of responsibly recycling electronic waste. It’s a great alternative for both people and businesses to dispose of their unwanted electronics responsibly. You can pay an e-cycling company to collect and dispose of your electronics
The actual physical process of e-cycling will depend on the type of electronic device, as well as where it is in its lifecycle
Generally speaking, an e-cycling company will first check to see whether the device(s) can be reused or refurbished. If they can, the device will be scrubbed of data and resold on the secondhand market. These are usually in less affluent or developing countries in places like Asia or South America.
If the device can’t be refurbished, it’s sent to a recycling plant and put through shredders. Once shredded, metal components will be shipped to smelters. Here they’ll be melted down, the precious metals recovered, and restored into raw materials for reuse.
Hazardous materials that can’t be reused, such as mercury, are removed and separated to be properly disposed of.
There’s a huge list of electronics that can be e-cycled. Some of the more common items include:
- Games consoles
Why Is E-Cycling Important?
It should go without saying that everyone should be doing their part to reduce their impact on the planet. But we often forget that our consumption of technology impacts the planet too.
Disposing of electronics responsibly is of such vital importance because of the materials used to produce them. Electronic devices contain hazardous materials such as lithium, mercury, lead, and phosphorus to name a few.
When these materials are improperly disposed into incinerators or landfills, they contaminate the environment. This is mainly through water and air, but both have negative impacts on both human health and the planet.
Reusing the materials has the obvious benefits of reusing any other material, but for precious metals, the benefits reach even further. Most electronics contain valuable metals such as gold, copper, and silver.
Coltan is a particularly rare substance used in smartphones. It’s found in a protected area in the Congo. Mining activities here have endangered species such as gorillas and elephants.
Mining additionally causes problems such as erosion, deforestation, and loss of biodiversity across the world. Recycling any of these metals will help reduce mining activities.
E-cycling isn’t all we can do either. We can also work on reducing our e-waste in general to help do our part.
E-cycling can be a great way to reduce your impact on the planet and it’s so easy to do. Make sure to find a responsible e-cycling company that disposes of their unwanted goods ethically.
You can find more articles about sustainable and green living on our blog, so make sure to check it out.