This blog entry is the first in a series about the importance of electronics recycling, in regards to reducing harmful contaminants in landfills and throughout the environment. Each day vast quantities of electronic waste are carelessly discarded and end up in landfills. Sure, plenty of things end up in the landfill, but these contain harmful metals and chemicals. These hazardous materials can leech into our water stream causing health problems and concerns. While exporting e waste is a widespread problem that warrants the same level of concern, this series will focus on domestic environmental ramifications and electronics recycling solutions associated with electronic waste.
Landfill Focus: Cadmium
Cleanlites team chose cadmium to lead off this blog series because of its range of applications and widespread use in computers and other electronic devices. Cadmium is used in contacts and switches, many laptop computers possess rechargeable nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries. Compounds containing cadmium have also been used in manufacturing many different PVC products, including wire insulation. Even old cathode ray tubes (CRTs) utilized cadmium sulfide in the form of a phosphor coating on the inside surface of the screen for light production. In short, cadmium has been used almost everywhere.
Slight exposure to cadmium has been proven to cause a number of symptoms and conditions including kidney damage, bone toxicity, heart disease and lung cancer just to name a few. This is why Cleanlites is dedicated to stop landfill exposure to cadmium-containing products? When we think of exposure to cadmium naturally you think of direct exposure by handling the metal or inhaling it’s burn fumes or ashes. However there is a deeper far more volatile threat in contamination of the groundwater. Once wet, cadmium is more viscous than most other heavy metals, making it more likely to contaminate at a faster pace. In short, one of the most widely used heavy metals in electronics is toxic, and moves quickly once it gets wet.
This is a threat that must be addressed and neutralized, and it starts with businesses and consumers. Environmental organizations, trustworthy recyclers and landfills work hard to keep metals such as cadmium contained, but they need your help to keep our groundwater and environment safe. Find a recycling center near you, ask the recycler questions about their downstream waste and methods they apply in recycling harmful metals and chemicals found in electronic waste. Once you’ve located an electronics recycler you feel you can trust, work with them instead of simply taking it out in trash. If you have questions about e waste or electronics recycling, contact a Cleanlites team member today and we will be happy to get you the answers you’re looking for.