Are you one of those careless consumers who will replace their electronics every once in a while and doesn't bother to recycle the old hardware properly? The use of electronic products like mobile phones, tablets, computers and printers have increased greatly in the past decade. It is estimated that over 50 million tons of electronic waste are disposed every year. The United States alone disposes more than 30 million computers per year. According to the EPA, only 15% of the e-waste are properly recycled in first world nations. Some of the most hazardous electronics include, LCD monitors, televisions, and printer cartridges. It doesn't mean you don’t have to worry about properly disposing or reusing other type of electronics. But when you are disposing the items that are mentioned above, you should be more diligent.
Let’s take a look at some of the tips to reduce and reuse e-waste.
Do not buy the newest electronics available in the market unless your current devices aren't useful anymore. We can foresee that when the next iPhone or iPad is released, millions of people are going to dump their current mobile devices and buy the latest gadget. The truth might be quite deplorable but only less than 1 percent of the mobile phones disposed will be recycled this year.
- Participate in manufacturer and retail recycling
If you are tossing your old mobile phones, printer ink cartridges, and computer parts heedlessly into the recycling bin in the hopes it will be recycled properly, think again. You should not drop all your e-wastes in one particular recycle center in your city. For instance there are certain recycle centers who specialize in recycling mobile phone parts and some that specialize in recycling computer parts and printed board. You should check out the list of accredited eWaste online and ascertain who specializes in recycling what.
You can take part in retail as well as manufacturer recycling programs to ensure that, the electronics that you don’t need anymore will be recycled properly. For instance, if you take part in the Apple’s recycling program, you will be offered a free takeback program when you purchase a new MacBook or iMac. Printer ink retailer like Ink Station work with zero landfill policy and also sell eco-friendly ink cartridges that do not cause much damage to the environment.
Reusing is definitely better than recycling. If you crave for the latest and the newest mobile phones and tablets in the market and can’t restrain you from buying them the very first day, you should at least donate your electronics that are not useful to you anymore. If your electronics is still usable, you can reduce e-waste by giving it to people who can’t afford it or make use of it. If you are not willing to give things away for free, you can sell your electronics on the internet, even if they are not working anymore. You can list your item on websites like eBay and make a quick buck.
In biology the term vestigiality means an organ losing most or all its original or ancestral function and take other secondary or tertiary roles. For instance, the appendix in the human body used to play a major role in digesting cellulose when our ancestors were more dependent on vegetation for food than meat. Now the appendix is a vestigial organ and still has immunological roles. Okay, we had gone a bit far with biology, let’s get back to electronics.
The lifespan of several electronics are quite short. When they are not functioning as they used to anymore, they can take some other role. You can turn the display of an old laptop in a digital photo frame (you can find a lot of DIY tutorials to achieve it.) You can take the useful parts from the computer or laptop and use them. If the hard disk on you old laptop or computer is still working, you can remove it and use it as an external hard disk with a cheap $10 casing.
Old iMacs are obsolete, but they still look gorgeous. Instead of throwing them away, you can use the shell to build an aquarium. There are quite some iMac aquarium creators on the internet that can help you transform you old iMac in to a small 10 gallon aquarium. These are just a few ways to turn your old and obsolete electronics useful, but you get the idea.
Finally bear in mind that whenever you are replacing any electronic device, you should do the necessary so that it will be recycled properly.