How to Properly Recycle Electronics

how to properly recycle electronics

With technology constantly advancing, like a new iPhone coming out every year, the rate at which we create e-waste is rising exponentially. So what do you do with the devices that you’re no longer using? Recycle. Thankfully, learning how to properly recycle electronics isn’t difficult.

According to Gartner, a tech research company, approximately 1.5 billion cellphones were bought in 2017. That’s about one phone for every five people alive. Now, unless you traded in your old device for your new one, that old phone is just going to sit in a drawer collecting dust.

These devices have reached the end of their useful life and have now become electronic waste. According to a recent United Nations study, 44.7 million tons of e-waste was discarded in 2016. Of that 44.7 million, only 20 percent of it was disposed of properly. There are numerous ways to properly recycle electronics, including donating, creating e-waste art, or recycling.

Donating Electronics

Donating Electronics

If you have electronics in perfectly fine condition, a good way to get rid of it is to donate it. There are numerous organizations, even the companies that sell the devices, that will take your old devices and sell them at a reduced price. Or they’ll send them to an electronics recycler to have the components separated for their raw materials.

Companies like HP, Dell, Best Buy, and Goodwill accept donated devices. Now, before you turn it in, consider upgrading the hardware or software instead of buying a brand new product. This will not only save you money, but it’s also environmentally friendly. If that is not an option for you, make sure that you delete all personal information from your electronics. You don’t want to leave yourself open to the possibility of data theft just because you were trying to do the right thing. You need to make sure you sanitize your device of all your data.

Creating E-waste Art

E-waste Art
Photo Courtesy of Peter McFarlane

If you’re an artist, one fun way of repurposing your old device is by incorporating it into your artwork. This has a dual purpose: 1) create awesome art and 2) raising awareness about e-waste.

For example, according to the EPA, recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year. Additionally, for every million cell phones recycled, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered and used to create new cell phones. This may not seem like much but it stops, or at least slows down, the mining of raw materials, which can be detrimental to the environment and African gorillas.

Artists like Gabriel Dishaw and Peter McFarlane, make a living creating e-waste art. They use circuit boards, wiring, and various metal components to bring their artwork to life.

Their mission is to make people think harder about e-waste and to create a dialogue in order to help people find ways to repurpose their e-waste.

Recycling Your Electronics

Recycling Your Electronics

If your device is past saving and you don’t have an artistic bone in your body, the best way to dispose of it properly is by bringing it to an electronics recycler, like Great Lakes Electronics.

At Great Lakes Electronics, we perform environmentally friendly electronics recycling using a de-manufacturing process and asset recovery. The various components of value are repurposed for reuse, and other remaining parts are processed further for final metals recovery. Because we have a zero landfill policy, all items from the de-manufacturing process are recycled.

We recycle all electronics through a process called de-manufacturing, which sounds more complex than it really is. Simply put, during this process, we take all equipment, such as computers, servers, mainframes, etc, and turn them into smaller recyclable pieces. These smaller pieces are then processed even further for end of life metals recovery.

For your peace of mind, once your device(s) arrives at one of our recycling facilities all company identification and/or sensitive information will be removed and destroyed. We do our best to remove any worry you have about disposing of old hard drives and the data they contain.

Through multiple levels of data sanitization and destruction from DOD level wiping to physical destruction, we offer complete data destruction of all drives with our in-house data elimination processes.

Additionally, we issue Certificates of Destruction and Certificates of Data Deletion upon request, and a Certificate of Recycling will be issued for each shipment.

Recycling Your Electronics

Learning how to properly recycle electronics is as easy as finding an established e-waste recycler like Great Lakes Electronics.

We have experience performing environmentally-friendly recycling of electronic products, including computers, circuit boards, telephone equipment, and communications systems. The best part is that our process keeps lead, cadmium, lithium and other hazardous toxins out of landfills.

Great Lakes Electronics offers secure destruction of personal, sensitive, proprietary, or classified information that may still be on your hard drive, ensuring that your information is totally safe. This eliminates the threat of a security breach and identity theft completely, which may not be the case when you donate your device.

To find out more contact us or call us at 888-392-7831.