The Importance of Recycling E-Waste

Recycling e-waste can significantly reduce the demand for mining heavy metals and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

FREMONT, CA: People today are purchasing more electronic products than previously. Newer, faster technology is being released every day, which results in constant upgrades of electronic equipment. This means that the now-obsolete models are discarded regularly. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term that describes these now-undesirable electronic products. Here is more about e-waste disposal and why recycling is the best choice for the planet.

Recycling e-waste allows recovering many valuable metals and other materials from electronics, saving natural resources, mitigating pollution, conserving landfill space, and creating jobs. According to the EPA, recycling one million electronics waste can also recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 35,000 pounds of copper, and 33 pounds of palladium. On the other end, e-waste recycling assists in cutting down on production waste. According to a recent report, it takes 1.5 tons of water, 530 pounds of fossil fuel, and 40 pounds of chemicals to manufacture a single computer and monitor. 81 percent of the power associated with a computer is leveraged during production and not during operation.

Electronics recycling can be daunting because discarded electronics devices are sophisticated devices manufactured from many proportions of glass, metals, and plastics. The process of recycling can vary, relying on the materials being recycled and the technologies deployed. Collection and transportation are two of the early stages of the recycling process, including e-waste. Recyclers place collection bins in specific locations and transport the collected e-waste from these sites to recycling plants and facilities.

Although the volume of e-waste is rising rapidly, the quality of e-waste is lowering. Devices are getting smaller, containing less precious metal. The material values of many end-of-life electronic and electrical products have, therefore, fallen sharply. Electronics recyclers have suffered due to sagging prices of recycled commodities, which have mitigated margins and resulted in business closures. The current rate or level of e-waste recycling is not enough. The recycling rate of 17.4 percent has much room for betterment as most e-waste still is relegated to the landfill.

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