Electronic devices are everywhere these days. Everything from small wearable devices to large appliances can contain technology. Some homes are built from the ground up with electronic devices embedded in them to control the temperature, the blinds, and much more. While electronics are designed to last for quite some time, they can also break down or be damaged. When that happens, it’s often cheaper to replace them than it is to have them repaired. This, however, leads to electronic debris.
Almost 7 million tons of electronic debris were created in the U.S. in 2019. While that’s a fairly small percentage of the overall amount of waste created, electronic debris is its own special type of trash. Almost all electronic devices contain precious metals, including palladium, copper, gold, and silver. A single smartphone doesn’t have that much of these materials in it, but 7 million tons of electronics do. In 2019, it’s estimated that almost 7.5 billion dollars worth of precious metals and other materials were thrown into the landfill.
This is just one reason why recycling electronics is so important. Here are some other reasons why we need to recycle these devices and how Junk King can help you get your electronics to the recycling facility.
Recycling Electronics Reduces the Need for Precious Metals
Let’s continue talking about precious metals. Palladium, a metal that many people aren’t familiar with, is used in electrical contacts, watches, catalytic converters, surgical instruments, and more. According to mineral surveys, there are more than 6,700 million ounces of the metal in the current mines. This is why prices for palladium are typically over $2,000 per ounce. The amount of money lost, then can quickly add up. Fortunately, recycling a million smartphones recoups over 30 pounds of the metal. It also reuses over 70 pounds of gold, 700 pounds of silver, and 35,000 pounds of copper.
The circuit boards found in computers, printers, smart appliances, phones, gaming devices, and other electronics are the primary location for these metals. In fact, there’s enough gold found in circuit boards that it’s actually more time-efficient to recycle them than it is to mine more gold. One ton of recycled circuit boards has, at minimum, about 40 times more gold in it than a ton of ore.
The more electronics that are discarded and end up in the landfill, the higher the cost of new electronics will become. Eventually, some of these metals will become so rare that it may be impossible to create enough new devices to meet the demand. As technology continues to expand, we’re going to need more materials, which means recycling is going to become even more vital to the industry than it already is.
It Protects the Environment
Many electronics, especially older ones, contain hazardous materials that can greatly damage the soil if they leak into it. These materials include arsenic, mercury, and lead. An old CRT monitor or television, for example, can contain as much as eight pounds of lead. If it gets into the soil and into the water from there, it can become deadly. As other components in electronics break down, they can release various chemicals such as lithium that can also damage the soil and water. If any of these chemicals make it into the groundwater, they can eventually get into streams or lakes, killing the animals that rely on this water.
Air pollution is another concern. Some landfills and other waste disposal locations incinerate the waste they receive. If electronics are burned, the plastics and other materials can release hazardous emissions. These emissions can be dangerous to humans and animals who breathe them in, plus they can also contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.
Electronic waste dumped in the ocean is another major issue. Electronics aren’t made from biodegradable materials, which means piles of these devices will quickly build up on the seabed. When chemicals are released from these devices, they can destroy the ecosystems of the surrounding waters.
Recycling Electronics Protects You, Too
In addition to protecting the environment, recycling electronics also protects you. If you throw an old computer in the trash, you don’t know where it will end up. If anyone gets ahold of the hard drive in it, they could have access to all of your information. Even if you deleted everything, it’s not truly gone unless it was done using professional tools that remove all traces of the data. Even old devices that have been exposed to the elements may still have some retrievable data on them.
If you’re going to get rid of an electronic device, your best option is to recycle it. Recyclers do normally run all devices through a strong magnetic field to delete all information. The entire device is also disassembled, leaving nothing left that’s capable of storing data. During this process, anything that cannot be recycled is usually damaged beyond repair.
Electronics recycling also protects you from legal action. In some states, it’s actually illegal to put electronics in the trash. Most city garbage programs also state that they do not accept electronics, even if there’s no official state law about it. If you live in a state with a law against dumping electronics, you could be fined if you do.
You Can Save Money
Another great benefit to recycling electronic devices is that you may be able to save some money. Some manufacturers will ask if you want to recycle your old device when you purchase a new one. If you do, they may give you a discount or other bonus with your new purchase. If your old device still works, the manufacturer may donate it to someone in need, while broken devices get recycled.
How Can You Recycle Electronics?
There are a few ways to recycle your electronics besides trading them in. That may not even be an option. While trading in devices is fairly common with smartphones and tablets, it’s typically not an option with desktop computers, laptops, gaming devices, and other electronics. So how can you recycle them?
One thing you may want to do first is, if the device is still functioning, consider giving it to someone or donating it. While recycling devices is great, reducing the need for new devices is even better. Some people may also not be able to afford a phone or computer, so donating can provide them with something they could never have otherwise. If you have an older child who has been asking for a phone, giving them your old device is a good way of seeing if they can take care of it properly before you spend money on a newer model.
If the device is broken or too old to really be of use any longer, then it’s time to look into recycling. Most city recycling programs won’t take electronics, so it’s not quite as simple as putting them in your recycling bin. Fortunately, many electronics and office supply stores will accept old electronics for recycling. Not all do, and not all will take all electronic devices, so be sure to find out which stores will accept which items. You may also want to ask what steps they take to delete data and other personal information from the devices they take.
There are some specific electronic recycling companies out there. These companies generally take all types of electronics, though again, it’s always best to call and make certain they accept the things you have. Again, be sure you ask how they delete personal data from the items they take.
Junk King North Houston Collects and Recycles Electronics
Another very easy way to recycle your electronic devices is to have Junk King Houston North haul them away. Our team collects electronic waste as well as old furniture, appliances, yard waste, construction debris, and other bulk trash. Instead of taking them to the dump, we sort out anything that can be donated or recycled. Electronics typically go in the recycling stack. We pass them along to a recycling center that knows how to remove personal data before breaking down the devices and recycling the materials within them.
Junk King is dedicated to protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. That’s why we donate and recycle as much of what we take in as possible. Overall, less than a third of all the trash we pick up goes to the landfill, and we’re always looking for ways to reduce that amount even more.
Contact Junk King Today to Get Rid of Old Electronics and More
Instead of letting old electronics take up space in drawers or closets, give Junk King a call. We’ll make sure they get to the right recycling facility. While they may not take up as much space as an old sofa or refrigerator, there’s still no need to hold on to stuff that doesn’t work. Call us at 1-888-888-JUNK or send us a text to 1-737-888-5865 to learn more about how Junk King protects the environment, get a free, no-obligation quote, and book a pickup time.