E-Waste and the Importance of Electronic Recycling

Society benefits from the increased production of new low cost digital gadgets. This explosive progress of electronics development has made e-waste a growing issue. E-waste is now the fastest growing municipal solid waste stream with over 41.8 million tons generated world wide. Various precious metals and valuable commodities such as copper and aluminum reside in electronic waste and metal recovery from electronics is often more efficient than from the mined ore itself. Yet, only 15-20% of electronics are recycled today. This leads to an accumulation of valuable reusable resources sitting in our landfills. 

What is e-waste?

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The term "e-waste" is loosely applied to consumer and business electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its useful life. There is no clear definition for e-waste; but the general rule of thumb is that if the device uses electricity, it's probably electronic waste. This includes, gadgets like stereo, cellphones, televisions and dated laptop equipments that are typically no longer function or end-of-life (EOL). 

Why is electronics recycling essential?

Wealth of Raw Materials

An estimated $22 billion of gold alone may be recovered in e-waste worldwide. This is not including other resources such as silver, copper, aluminum, metals and plastics. 

Hazardous Materials

Electronic waste also contains many hazardous materials such as mercury, lead, chromium and cadmium. Taking your electronics to a certified recycler ensures that these toxic materials do no seep from landfills into water supplies and damage the local ecosystem.

Information Theft

Choosing a certified recycler means your identity will be protected. Certified recyclers facilities ensure that hard drives are either physically destroyed or wiped before being processed further.

Where can you recycle your electronics?

Bring it to a certified electronic recycler. Plenty of nonprofit organizations and local communities offer options to help you recycle old electronics. Rica Recycling offers a free drop-off for individuals and free business pick up services for organizations in the local bay area.