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How to Properly Dispose of E-Waste

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Daliah Okoro
Daliah Okoro
March 13, 2015

Whenever we buy a new phone or gadget, there is always a tendency to throw out the old piece of technology. Others opt to stash it in a drawer or attic where all the other old cell phones, keyboards, and chargers are stored. If this sounds like you, you are not alone; everybody does it. However, our tendency to throw out old pieces of technology or to store them as they gather dust is a tendency that must be switched. Instead of tossing out old cell phones and electronics, you should learn how to properly dispose of e-waste.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, e-waste is the nation’s fastest growing type of waste. In fact, in 2010 Americans collectively threw away approximately 384 million pieces of electronics. This includes cell phones, computers, televisions, and other commonly used devices. The problem with throwing away e-waste is that there are potentially dangerous consequences. This is because electronics have trace amounts of hazardous chemicals such as mercury, cadmium, and lead. Over time, these materials can sink into the ground where they can pollute our drinking water supplies. Also, the chemicals are also hazardous to the environment as well.

While turning in your old electronics to a recycling company is always better than merely throwing them away where they will end up in a landfill, the quicker you take your old cell phone, for example, to a recycling center, the better. This is because many times people will upgrade to a new phone or tablet when their old one still works nearly perfectly. When useable models are recycled, it is much easier for these products to be reused or for the materials to be used for a new and similar product. While your old phone should still be recycled, many of the parts on it cannot be reused since the technology is simply out of date. The next time you upgrade your phone or other electronic devices, be sure to recycle the old one and do your part to help minimize the growing problem of e-waste.

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