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Green Crusade: What's Happening to Today's Electronic Recycling Centers?


Saying that the e-waste or electronic recycling industry is the same on Main Street, USA as it is in the Asian market, is a huge erroneous statement if there ever was one. The post below covers how the growing Asian market is handling the matter of e-waste, and what we can all do individually to tackle this growing problem on a bigger scale.

One Township In Illinois

One case in point is the Orland Township in Illinois. What was once a thriving enterprise of volunteers loading up TV consoles, computers, and other electronic devices for recycling efforts, has now shut down and much due to its own success. After more than 500,000 pounds of items were recycled on an annual basis, recyclers decided to start charging the Township per pound. Evidently, this was not a good fiscal move for Orland, and the center was closed. (1)

On The Other Side of The Pond...

Meanwhile, the Asian-Pacific region takes the largest share in electronic waste management being followed by the European sector. If one considers trashed e-waste as opposed to just plain recycled e-waste, the trash takes the largest chunk of the market. In total, the global volume of e-waste amassed to 57.7 million tons in 2013 as recycling centers continue to flourish for this Asian market sector.

Some Startling Facts

According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), electronic waste is now the fastest-growing municipal waste issue confronting state and local governments. The average U.S. household has a minimum of 24 electronic devices. Of that amount, most statistics show only 15 to 25 percent of our e-waste as actually being recycled. (2)

How Some US Communities Handle E-Waste

For some communities such as Orland Township, the e-waste recycling business has almost come to a halt. For others, is it a thriving industry with more recycling centers being added to the landscape all the time. Regardless of where you live, solutions must be given. One possible short-term solution is found in forcing manufacturers to shoulder the cost of recycling their e-products.

Another short-term solution given by General Recycling Industries Ltd, an Edmonton recycling center. They explore giving affordable recycling pick up and bin services to communities all over Canada. (3)

However, everyone doing their bit of purposeful re-purposing before the recycling process is perhaps the best solution of all...

  • The Cristina Foundation focuses on people with disabilities, at-risk students and those at or below the poverty-level by donating one's electronic discards through several other umbrella organizations
  • Local churches and charities many times take older cellphones, computers and printers
  • Some cellphone carriers accept your old piece as a trade-in for a newer model or upgrade
  • Gazelle.com and Cellularrecycler.com buy older phones/computers.
  • A community's municipal website may list structured e-waste recycling programs with drop-off points.

Simply following through on these steps mentioned above goes a long way to help keep our planet green. Whatever your community or you decide to do to help eliminate e-waste, be certain to first wipe personal data clean from the hard drives and cellphones.

(1) http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-electronic-recycling-st-0210-20150209-story.html#page=1

(2) http://www.epa.gov/

(3) http://www.generalrecycling.com/recycling_services.html


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