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What is E-Waste Recycling and Why Does it Matter

For many people, their first contact with recycling is through the blue bin at their school or apartment complex. They may not realize that there are more advanced forms of recycling like e-waste recycling. E-waste recycling programs allow for electronics to be recycled safely and properly while also preventing any unnecessary damage to the environment.

This article explains what electronic waste (e-waste) is, why it matters, how it can be recycled via personal collection or by a company, and some options on where to recycle if you do not have access to an e-waste collection program in your area.

What Is e-Waste?

Electronic waste refers to anything with a battery or power cord that has been discarded, including items from homes, schools, businesses, and industries. Many people have old electronics in a closet or drawer at home that they no longer use, but may not realize they can be recycled. Some common e-waste includes computers, tablets, cell phones, printers, VCRs, DVD players, etc.

E-Waste regulations are different in every state, so it is important to check your local regulations on what can be recycled and how. In many states, including Oregon, it is illegal to throw away computers and other electronics in regular garbage because of the toxic metals inside. That’s why electronics recycling in Portland and throughout the State of Oregon is so important. By recycling e-waste we can keep these potentially hazardous materials out of landfills and stop them from harming the environment.

What Is The Impact Of E-Waste?

As technology advances,  more and more people are buying new electronic devices. This means that there is an increasing amount of e-waste being generated each year. Americans discard about 3 million tons of electronics every year, and only about 25% of that is recycled. Globally, the amount of e-waste produced is expected to reach 49 million metric tons by 2020.

As mentioned above, the main problem with just throwing away old electronics is that they often contain harmful chemicals and metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium. When these materials end up in landfills, they can contaminate soil and water supplies. They can also release toxic fumes into the air, which can cause health problems for people living near the landfill. The best way to keep these hazardous materials from hurting the Earth is by recycling e-waste.

By recycling these electronics we’re helping the Earth not only by reducing the number of pollutants but also by taking fewer raw materials out of the earth to make new devices. This means that fewer trees, ore mines, and fossil fuels are needed in the manufacturing process, which can have a positive impact on the environment.

How Does E-Waste Recycling Work?

There are two ways to recycle e-waste: personal collection or company collection. As mentioned before, If you want to recycle your old electronics, you can often do so through your local municipality or by contacting a professional company. These companies will accept a variety of electronics for recycling, but there may be fees associated with it.

When it comes to company collection,  there are a few ways that the recycling process can happen. The company may take the electronics and recycle them themselves, or they may send them to a recycling facility. In either case, the recycling process begins with breaking down the device into its parts. The hazardous materials inside are then separated from the usable materials. The hazardous materials are then disposed of safely, and the usable materials are sorted and sold.

How Can I Recycle Old Electronics?

We’ve already mentioned that you should check with your local regulations to find out what kind of e-waste can be recycled in your area. Many towns have a specific day for electronics recycling, so you should go online and see if any events are going on near you. If there aren’t, or if you want to recycle items other than just computer equipment, then the best course of action would be to hire a company that offers e-waste recycling services. They will come to pick up all of your unwanted electronics and make sure that they get properly disposed of at the e-waste recycling facility.

What Happens to Recycled Electronics?

When electronics are recycled, the first thing that happens is the broken ones are separated from the functional ones. The broken ones are then shredded into tiny pieces and smelted down to create new metals. These metals can then be used in new electronics or other products. The functional devices are cleaned and tested to see if they still work. If they do, they are sold as refurbished devices. If they don’t work, the parts are still reused in other devices or products. By recycling electronics we’re not only keeping these materials out of landfills, but we’re also preventing them from being wasted and creating more pollution.

What is E-Waste Recycling and Why Does it Matter

As you can see, recycling e-waste is beneficial for both the environment and our economy. Therefore, next time you’re thinking of throwing something away, see if you can recycle it instead and help make a difference.

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