With the advancement of technology, companies are constantly churning out new devices. While this influx of new tech has brought about tremendous societal benefits, it also has its downsides. This influx means that many of our old devices are now obsolete—this is called end-of-life (EOL) electronics or e-waste.
The explosive growth in e-waste has led to a rapidly escalating issue of our old devices ending up in landfills, where toxic materials can be released from old electronic devices and seep into the environment. And this is why recycling electronics is important.
With the vastly growing issue of e-waste comes the need for effective electronics recycling programs. According to A New Circular Vision for Electronics, a January 2019 report from the World Economic Forum, e-waste is now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, with an estimated waste stream of 48.5 million tonnes in 2018 alone.
This equals out to just over six kilograms of e-waste produced for every person on the planet, with Europe and the US contributing to almost half of the total e-waste generated annually. It might be difficult to picture the scale of global e-waste, so to put it into perspective, the total weight of e-waste is more than all the commercial aircraft ever produced.
The Importance of Recycling Electronics
It takes a lot of raw material to create new devices, so outdated electronics are a great source of raw materials. This not only saves money but it also saves time and means that manufacturers don’t need to mine as much, which is bad for the environment.
According to the United Nations, electronic waste contains deposits of precious metals, which are estimated to be approximately 40 and 50 times richer than ores mined from the earth.
The combination of a short product life cycle and rapid growth in the electronics industry has led to an escalation in the amount of solid waste we produce. This causes landfills to fill up faster, which in turn means that we need to convert more land to be used as a dumpsite.
Electronic devices contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and chromium, which are perfectly safe while we’re using the devices. However, proper processing is essential to ensure that these materials are not released into the environment. These devices may also contain heavy metals and potentially toxic chemical flame retardants. The chemicals, if seeped into the soil or groundwater, can pose serious health risks to you and to the surrounding wildlife.
When e-waste is improperly disposed of and shipped overseas, where there is cheap labor and primitive approaches to recycling, these toxic substances have had dire effects. The resulting health concerns to the millions of residents exposed to the release of toxins continues to be an issue of concern.
Benefits of Electronics Recycling
Having your electronics recycled by a certified electronics recycler, like Great Lakes Electronics, means that all of your old devices’ components will be recycled. Manufacturers prefer reusing components or purchasing recycled components because this greatly diminishes the time, money, and energy required to turn out a single unit during the manufacturing process.
Simply tossing out your personal or office’s old electronics along with the neighborhood trash leaves you extremely susceptible to information theft. Oftentimes, even if you think you’ve deleted all your files on your broken or outdated computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc., there’s still the possibility that you didn’t get all of the information.
At Great Lakes Electronics, we offer complete data destruction of all drives with our in-house data elimination processes. For your peace of mind, we offer multiple levels of data sanitization and destruction.
Great Lakes Electronics
Did you know that half of all e-waste is personal devices, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, and TVs? The other half consists of larger household appliances, as well as heating and cooling equipment.
If you want to do your part and reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in our landfills, bring it to Great Lakes Electronics. We will ensure that your devices are recycled properly.
We strive to perform environmentally-friendly electronics recycling, including computers, circuit boards, telephone equipment, and communication systems. We also pride ourselves on operating under the highest standards of integrity and utilize every resource we can to conserve energy and reduce our (and your) environmental impact.