Every day, millions of cell phones, computers, TVs, printers, and other electronics and appliances are carelessly discarded as we constantly seek to purchase the latest technological innovation. According to one analysis, the average American spends around $1,200 each year on electronic gadgets each year. If we factor in new appliances as well, that figure most likely is significantly higher. But have you ever stopped to think where all those used appliances and electronics eventually end up? Only about 1/8th of all electronics and appliances are eventually recycled, meaning that an enormous amount of used phones, computers, electronics, and appliances eventually end up in local landfills.
This “e-waste” not only takes up an enormous amount of space in our already-overburdened landfills, but it also contains several potentially dangerous components that are classified as toxic waste. Up to 70 percent of all toxic elements in landfills across the United States come from the used electronics and appliances that we throw away, even though e-waste as a whole is only 2 percent of the total amount of waste sent to landfills each year.
So What Exactly Is E-Waste?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines e-waste this way:
“E-waste”, “electronic waste”, “e-scrap” and “end-of-life electronics” are terms often used to describe used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life, and are discarded, donated, or given to a recycler. Though “e-waste” is the commonly used term, EPA considers e-waste to be a subset of used electronics and recognizes the inherent value of these materials that can be reused, refurbished, or recycled to minimize the actual waste that might end up in a landfill or improperly disposed of in an unprotected dump site either in the US or abroad.”
The used electronics and appliances that we discard are potentially dangerous to both human health and the local environment. Inside our used TVs, computers, phones, and other electronics you can find toxic components that are dangerous to human health, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, polybrominated flame retardants, barium, and lithium. In a landfill, these toxic elements can potentially leach into the soil and even local watersheds.
When these heavy metals and other dangerous toxic chemicals reach sources of groundwater, they eventually make their way into ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Eventually, the heavy metals lead to acidification and toxification of important water sources. Not only does this effectively poison the water for animals, plants, and other aquatic species, but it can also create serious health risks to human communities.
Perhaps ironically, many of these same heavy metals that poison the soil, water, and air when they are carelessly thrown into the dump, are actually worth millions of dollars! Cell phones and other electronic items have large amounts of precious metals like gold, silver, palladium, and others. Just the cell phones that are thrown away by Americans every year contain an estimated $60 million in gold and silver.
Top Four Tips for Responsibly Getting Rid of E-Waste in Worcester
E-waste is a ubiquitous source of toxic waste in our nation´s landfills. At the same time, it is composed of heavy metals that are extremely expensive. The combination of these two facts would make you think that there might be added economic incentive for recycling operations to take on e-waste materials. Fortunately, local governments, private recycling operations, electronics retailers, and independent junk removal companies are finally coming together to try and “solve” the e-waste problem. Below, we offer our top four tips for how individuals, homeowners, and business owners can efficiently and responsibly get rid of their e-waste items.
Tip #1: Donate your Used Electronics
Despite the enormous growth of cell phone usage across the nation, an estimated 15 percent of adults in the United States do not own a cell phone. In our hyper-digitalized society, this can make it difficult to communicate, manage finances, hold a job, and do other everyday tasks. If you have a used phone, computer, TV, printer, or another type of electronic device, consider donating it to someone in need. For residents of Worcester, MA, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to donate used electronic appliances where they will be refurbished and sold at a discounted price to neighbors in our region. This isn’t only a great way to keep your e-waste out of the landfill, but it also is a simple way to help members of our community who might not be able to afford new electronics.
Tip #2: Drop Off Your E-waste at Local Recycling Agencies
Another way to responsibly get rid of your used electronics and appliances is to physically take them to local electronic recycling organizations. In the Worcester area, Recycling Works offers free recycling of all unwanted, outdated, or broken electronics, though you will have to take them to their brick and mortar locations.
Tip #3: Return Your Used Electronics to the Store Where You Bought Them
Another option for responsibly dealing with your e-waste is to take your used electronics back to the store where you originally bought them. Many electronics retail stores now offer free drop-off services for used phones, computers, and other similar items. The stores may try to refurbish the items for resale, or they will find a local recycler. In some cases, you may even be able to sell your used items for cash to the retail store.
Tip #4: Hire a Professional Junk Removal Company
Lastly, you can also hire a professional junk removal company to help you get rid of your e-waste items. This is perhaps the easiest and most efficient option as you simply have to call the company and set up a time for pickup. Junk King of Worcester County is the leading junk removal service in the region, offering our services to residents of the towns of Acton, Agawam, Arlington, Ashburnham, Belmont, Chicopee, Framingham, Grafton, Lancaster, Lexington, Oxford, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Springfield, Townsend, Waltham, Westborough, and Worcester. We also service areas as far away as Boston and Middlesex.
Hiring Junk King for your e-waste removal makes sense if you have several appliances or electronics you want to dispose of, or if you simply don’t have the time or means to drive your e-waste to recycling centers or donation agencies. Junk King of Worcester can help you get rid of all your e-waste items in an environmentally friendly manner as we maintain a series of relationships with recycling centers and donation agencies around the region. If you are undergoing an extensive remodel or “de-cluttering” of your home, we also offer to both individuals and businesses an efficient and affordable way to get rid of used furniture, yard waste, appliances, hot tubs, construction debris, mattresses, and anything that is not classified as hazardous waste.
How to Hire Junk King of Worcester
As a full-service junk removal company, Junk King of Worcester provides an efficient and environmentally friendly way to recycle all of your used appliances and electronics. You can rest assured that we will go the extra mile to donate, repurpose or recycle your e-waste. To get a free and transparent price estimate, call us at 1-888-888-5865 (JUNK), or at (978) 212-3973. You can also send a text message with a picture of the junk you need to be removed at 1-737-888-5865. After you receive and accept the free estimate for the junk removal at your home or business, you can pick a 2-hour window for the company to come and help you get rid of your junk in an efficient, environmentally friendly, and timely manner!