Most of us have heard about recycling initiatives all our lives, with marketing campaigns touting the three-step approach of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Influenced by these campaigns, many of us rinse our food packaging and carefully sort recyclable materials like metal cans, glass bottles, and cardboard boxes into a special recycling bin. Even workplaces have gotten in on this eco-friendly trend, from big ideas in their sustainability plans to small, actionable steps like providing recycling accessibility in staff break rooms.
But has your company considered recycling your old electronics?
Often overlooked, the idea of recycling end-of-life electronics — a.k.a. e-waste — is actually crucial. Here’s why electronics should be a part of your recycling efforts and some top devices you should start recycling sooner rather than later.
Why Is Electronic Recycling Important?
The proliferation of e-waste is, unfortunately, a growing issue. The International Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum estimates that the global population may produce 74 million tons of e-waste annually by 2030, including all sorts of devices — from dishwashers to laptops. The sheer volume of e-waste is dangerous for several reasons. For one, many electronics contain harmful toxins that can leach into the environment and damage the local ecosystem when disposed of irresponsibly. Additionally, tossing out electronic devices that could have been repurposed places unnecessary stress on supply lines, requiring all-new materials for manufacturing.
To reduce the environmental and market impact of our increasingly digital society, we must start taking steps to limit the harmful and unnecessary loss of recyclable materials in electronics.
5 Types of Electronic Recycling
You might be surprised to discover that most common electronics can undergo recycling. Even if the entire device isn’t recyclable, it probably contains components that can be recovered and repurposed to support both sustainability and affordability. Remember, the fewer raw materials required to manufacture new products, the better for the environment. Plus, if your e-waste recycling partners can resell the individual components or precious metals harvested from your devices, you may be able to recoup costs or even make a profit on your IT asset disposal.
When considering which unwanted devices to submit to your trusted e-waste partners, here are five types of electronic recycling to prioritize.
1. Cell Phones
Out of all the electronics we replace regularly, cell phones tend to go out of date most quickly. With new models of popular smartphones released every year, there can be considerable pressure on consumers and companies to upgrade. However, since cell phones are such small devices, many businesses overlook their potential recycling value, consigning them to the trash.
Not only is this bad for the environment, as up to five billion phones are discarded each year, but it’s a massive waste of resources.
Cell phones are highly recyclable. For instance, modern phone models’ wiring and rechargeable batteries contain reusable metals like copper and cobalt. But if these metals aren’t recovered, their value is lost, and more raw materials must be mined from the earth.
Computers are another prime candidate for recycling, especially since they tend to outstrip cell phones in size. From desktop and laptop computers to server systems and even e-readers, many electronic components could be saved by following a proper e-waste recycling plan.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “The production of one desktop computer takes at least 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water.” So, carelessly disposing of an out-of-date computer can represent a massive waste of energy and materials. But on the inverse, recycling those old computers taking up space in your office closet could yield a decent return, making computer e-waste recycling a win-win scenario for the environment and your bottom line.
These days, televisions are high-tech commodities. And with advances in flat screens and smart TVs, they’ve become increasingly rich in recyclable components, making televisions one of the most important types of electronic recycling. Even older models can still have a lot to offer. Many older model televisions contain various metals and plastics that could be reused to make new electronics.
The next time you’re replacing TV monitors in conference rooms, break rooms, or anywhere you use them as digital signage, consider adding the old models to your collection of devices for e-waste recycling.
4. Music and Entertainment Devices
While less common in workplaces, many music and entertainment devices are perfectly recyclable. From mp3 players or digital assistants to gaming consoles, these electronics contain many of the same materials that go into our cell phones and laptops. It stands to reason, then, that they can be recycled in the same way.
5. Computer Accessories
So often, we get so fixated on computer recycling that we forget about all the accessories that can be recycled from old computers. Just like your monitors and hard drives, many accessories can be processed for recycling or resale. Accessories include, but aren’t limited to
- Cords and chargers
Even larger office devices, like fax machines and copiers, can be recycled, so be sure to hand these over to a certified e-waste recycling team when it comes time to phase them out or purchase a new model.
Safely Recycle Your End-of-Life Electronics with FAMCe
When you need a way to dispose of your e-waste, electronic recycling offers a solution that’s both environmentally ethical and fiscally sound. To get started, look no further than the experts at FAMCe.
FAMCe is a leading provider of data destruction services, offering a wide range of IT disposal solutions designed to meet our client’s unique needs in a safe and eco-friendly manner.
We specialize in secure, innovative electronics recycling services for businesses that need to safely dispose of electronic scrap, high-temperature alloys, and non-ferrous scrap. Our level of expertise, unparalleled customer service, and aggressive pricing make FAMCe the leading option for almost any recycling need.
Need your IT assets safely decommissioned? Learn more and get in touch with us at famce.net.