In a UN Study, despite generating over 6,900 kt of E-waste in 2019, the United States formally collected only 1,020 kt (or 15%) of the total waste. While it may seem that this is the latest in a long line of sad environmental news, E-waste poses unique dangers to health and data security.
Knowing how to recycle electronics can have a massive positive influence on the world around you!
What Is E-Waste, and Why Is It Dangerous?
Electronic waste, or E-waste, is an informal name for electronics reaching the end of their lifespan. For example, a laptop’s lifespan can reach 11.8 years, 6.5 years for a desktop, and two years for a smartphone.
Electronics contain lead, cadmium, and mercury, which cause adverse health effects if mishandled. Unfortunately, such mishandling is common among third-world waste companies that irresponsible recyclers employ.
Secondly, you recycle electronics containing private data – passwords, business data, credit card info, and information key to your identity. This data getting into the hands of those with ill-intent can have devastating effects.
How to Recycle Electronics
Clean It Up
First and foremost, data must be appropriately handled. Store your data on an external hard drive or in the cloud, remove any attached storage, then wipe it to the DoD 5220.22-M standard. Doing so makes sure that you have your information and ensures that no one else does.
Once properly wiped, your electronics are ready for the next step in their journey.
Our electronics are often not actually at the end of their lifespan when we are done with them. Whether we are moving jobs or picking up an upgrade, our electronics can still provide use when donated to local schools and libraries.
There are also reputable non-profits that will take your electronics and use them to provide an opportunity to children and families who wouldn’t have one otherwise. The World Computer Exchange and the National Cristina Foundation are excellent examples of such non-profits (as a bonus, all donations to any location can be used as a tax deduction).
Despite how tempting it is to just toss your electronics in the bin, proper recycling can be the most secure and eco-friendly step to take. Recyclers like Cleanlites Recycling that know how to recycle electronics go to great lengths to ensure that not only are your electronics properly cleaned but that they are being disposed of in a safe and environmentally conscientious manner.
If local recyclers aren’t for you, most tech companies such as HP, Best Buy, and Dell offer proper waste disposal options.
A Better, Cleaner World
The dangers that E-waste poses are simply too serious, and they stand to grow ever larger. Taking the time to learn how to recycle electronics correctly and work with certified recyclers helps you, your communities, and those around you.
For more information about how you can recycle your tech and hardware safely, contact Cleanlites today