Each and every year, tech hardware manufacturers around the globe develop new and innovative products offering never-before-seen features and technologies, constantly working to outperform each other in incredibly crowded markets. And that means every year, millions of tons of electronic waste are produced and tossed out as forgotten relics of the past.
But like any sort of commercial or industrial waste, discarded electronics pose an enormous environmental hazard with great threats to our world and our livelihood. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about computers, phones, TVs, or refrigerators—wasted electronics are full of hazardous materials like lead, chromium, and lithium. As hazardous materials break down in landfills, they can cause irreparable damage to environments that might not be detected for many years.
Saving Power with Recycling
Not only that but wasting electronics is wasting power. If more electronics were recycled instead of thrown into the trash, we’d save tons of energy each year. Let’s look at some stats. According to The Renewable Energy Hub UK, around 130 million phones are thrown out annually. If they were all recycled instead, the energy savings could power a small city. In fact, a single recycled phone saves enough power to keep a laptop running for 40 hours.
The hardware alone could be recycled to salvage thousands of pounds of valuable materials, including significant amounts of gold and palladium, which are much sought-after elements in medical applications. The net energy savings accomplished by reusing and recycling is enormous.
Reusing vs. Recycling
Most households update at least one form of their electronic devices every couple of years, whether it’s a new mobile phone, computer, TV set, or kitchen appliance. Even if you don’t toss that old phone into the garbage, what’s the point of letting it collect dust in your desk drawer?
Recycling affords the opportunity for your old electronics to live longer even than their expected lifespan if you hadn’t upgraded. But you weren’t even going to use that phone for as long as it would last, right? Instead, recycling allows those still-good parts and pieces to go back into the market where they can avoid the landfill and generate more economic activity, all while reducing the demand for unnecessary new production.
Saving Jobs with Recycling
Not only does recycling have enormous environmental and energy-savings benefits, but it’s a heavy industry that requires lots of bodies to make it work. Recycling plants are massive facilities that often process hundreds of tons of material per month, and all that work needs workers.
Not only do recycling plants themselves generate employment, but recycled technology requires intensive labor to be processed and prepared for re-entry into the market. Recycled parts need to be rebuilt, refurbished, or reprogrammed before they can be resold. Each step of the recycling process requires some special training, and the process varies for different types of electronics. For example, refurbishing an old refrigerator is nothing like repairing an old circuit board, and rarely will the same worker be performing both duties.
Additionally, a lot of electronic waste is shipped overseas or dumped into landfills. By stimulating domestic job growth with recycling, we can cut the cost of exporting waste and complying with environmental regulation. Reduced costs in these sectors create incentives for electronics manufacturers to explore recycling solutions for their waste product, and the increases in jobs incentivize government institutions to agendize recycling efforts in their communities.
Personal Benefits of Recycling Old Electronics
Throwing things in the garbage always feels wasteful, but sometimes recycling can feel like a chore. What are you getting out of it besides a sense of community goodwill? Well, for one thing, upgrading your electronics every year leads to a lot of household clutter. If you’ve ever tried to sell a 20-year-old television, you know that even giving things away for free can be surprisingly difficult. Recycling your electronics helps you declutter without causing wasteful environmental damage at the same time.
Plus, recycling your old electronics can make you back a little bit of the money you spent and even help you reduce the cost of your next upgrade. Services like iPad-Recycle help you quickly and easily recycle your old iPads and iPad accessories for actual cash in your pocket. All you have to do is wipe your old device, request a free protected shipping box, and in a few days, your sale will be confirmed, and you get paid.
Community Benefits of Recycling Old Electronics
Not only do you benefit personally from recycling your old gear, but your community does, too. Increases in jobs boost local economies, which, in turn, stimulate further production and innovation. Cleaner and healthier environments create more pleasing and inviting living spaces around the entire community. Fewer landfills keep our communities safer, healthier, and more beautiful.
In the 21st century, with all of the concern over global environmental affairs, now more than ever is the time for us to take individual responsibility and make our communities better places to live. Relying on big business to do the heavy lifting for us is a gamble we can’t afford to take. If every citizen made one change in their daily lives to recycle more, we’d save millions of dollars, countless lives, and increase our chances of surviving through these difficult and unpredictable times.
Stewart McGrenary is Managing Director of iPad-Recycle. He can be reached at email@example.com. For more information, visit ipad-recycle.co.uk.