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Why Electronics Recycling Isn’t Free

March 12, 2012

If you have a computer from the 1990’s, a TV as fat as your recliner chair, or a cell phone that is now larger than your home phone taking up space in your home… the dumpster in your backyard may look extremely appealing. After all, it is incredibly convenient!

So why shouldn’t you succumb to this accommodating disposal outlet? Here are two reasons why:

  1. Materials such as Antimony, Arsenic, Lead, and Mercury used to manufacture electronics are unhealthy to us. It is surprisingly easy for these materials to ultimately end up in our bodies and cause major issues including lung damage, cancer, and seizures.
  2. E-waste that is not recycled ends up in the environment. Water is poisoned, air turns toxic, soil becomes dead, and wildlife and plant life suffer.

Check out this interesting infographic on how e-waste affects our bodies and our country.

To avoid these harmful effects on both our bodies and our environment, reputable e-cycling companies provide outlets for responsible riddance of your old electronics. As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, some of these companies lower their costs by exporting e-waste to countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Pakistan, India, and China where it gets broken down by men, women, and children who are usually unprotected from the toxins. To comply with government regulations and environmental laws, e-cycling companies are resorted to charging fees to properly break down hazardous electronics.

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition gives consumers tips on how to spot a fake recycling company. They recommend finding out who is paying for the recycling cost, especially if there is no request for a small recycling fee. These fees ensure that what you are recycling is handled responsibly and complies with government regulations, including whether or not this process takes place in the United States or overseas.

The moral of the story: a recycling fee is not uncommon for electronics, and likely it is a sign of a reputable company. Don’t be scammed by fake recyclers and, most of all, make the right choice by avoiding typical garbage cans and landfills. Do your research before making a disposal decision.