Our Series on Domestic e-Waste
Each day vast quantities of electronic waste are carelessly discarded of and end up in landfills, exposing harmful metals and chemicals to our groundwater. While exporting e waste is a widespread problem that warrants the same level of concern, in this series we will focus on the domestic environmental ramifications and recycling solutions associated with electronic waste.
As part of our series about the importance of electronics and e waste recycling, today we are focusing on “Cadmium”.
We’re going to start things off with a rare metal named “cadmium”, we chose cadmium to lead off our blog series because of its multiple applications and widespread use in computers and other electronic devices.
“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.”
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 of many different PVC products, including wire insulation. Even old cathode ray tubes (CRTs) utilized cadmium sulphide, in the form of a phosphor coating on the inside surface of the screen for light production. It’s safe to say cadmium has been used almost everywhere.
Capturing Cadmium Before The Landfill
Why is Cleanlites dedicated to stop landfill exposure to cadmium-containing products? 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. 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. But there is a deeper, far more volatile threat in contamination of groundwater via landfill. Once wet, cadmium is more mobile than most other heavy metals, making it able to contaminate at a faster pace. So 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.