Companies across the world are increasingly reliant on electronic devices. Cutting edge technology puts businesses ahead of their competitors, in a marketplace which is ever more competitive. However, when it can cost significantly more money to repair a device than to simply purchase a new replacement, many of these old and superseded devices end up in landfill. Electronic waste disposal is becoming one of the most significant areas of waste management in America, growing at a rapid rate. According to some studies, e-waste is currently 2% of the total waste stream in America – a proportion which is steadily increasing. More importantly, that 2% creates an estimated 70% of the country’s toxic waste production. Just under 15 years ago, over 4.6million tons of e-waste from America went into a landfill. Given the exponential increase in waste in that time, the physical amount of e-waste entering a landfill for disposal is now much larger and much more of a problem.
Businesses and other domestic users are being encouraged to minimize their e-waste disposal, but how can this be achieved? Following the three principles of recycling – reduce, reuse, recycle – can create numerous options before a computer ever comes near to falling into a landfill. Reducing purchases of new electrical items to only those which are strictly necessary could make significant difference. Many people upgrade their mobile phone simply because they have that option, not because there is any fault with the previous handset. Reducing the consumption of electrical items is much easier than trying to manage their disposal. Similarly, many items can be reused – numerous charities collect unwanted electronics like televisions or other devices to be redistributed to the needy or used in shelters or by non-profit organizations. This too reduces waste.
Alternatively, many parts of an electrical device have a value in recycling. Metal and plastic packaging or housings can be turned into new products; even the metal elements inside can be recovered and used in jewelry, plumbing or the automobile industry. Approach councils or governments for their recycling options, or look for local businesses who offer these services.