New electronics are emerging into the market each day, leaving large quantities of obsolete and outdated devices to be thrown away while generating massive amounts of e-waste. While e-waste only represents 2% of American’s trash in landfills, it equals 70% of toxic waste (source). The benefits of e-recycling are evident not only to our environment, but also to our economy, and our sustainable energy sources.
1. Environmental Impacts
It’s no secret that the biggest benefit of e-recycling is its positive environmental impact. Often times, when e-waste is disposed of instead of recycled, it is left in landfills to be burned, shredded, buried, or dismantled. This can cause toxic emissions to be released into the atmosphere, affecting our plants, soil, drinking water, and quality of oxygen. The effects of recycling electronic devices can be seen by a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions that are typically produced from manufacturing original electronic materials. Recycling also conserves natural resources by producing copper, silver, gold, and palladium from existing devices.
2. Economic Benefits
Recycling e-waste not only benefits the environment, but the economy as a whole. Recycling is a $200 Billion industry in the United States and generates 7-10 more jobs than landfills, or waste to energy facilities. (source)
When we look at the three stages of the electronic life cycle as Recover, Revive and Reuse, we can see that it demonstrates a circular economy that creates jobs in each step of the process, therefore providing a more sustainable future. E-recycling also reduces the costs associated with trash disposal, potentially saving users large amounts of money.
E-recycling helps narrow the large digital divide present in the world today by taking end of life devices and re-marketing them at a lower cost. Those re-marketed devices are then sold in lower income, technology poor countries and provide access to users all over the world.
There is a misconception about when devices really reach the end of their lifecycle. Most believe devices have lost their worth once they have stopped auto updating, or do not have the capabilities for new software. However, the technology is still useful, and devices are still worth money after the software updates stop. Devices you may believe are trash, can actually be an ignored asset and have significant value. By selling these devices to a trusted, and fair re-marketer, you are literally putting money back into your pocket or yearly budget.
E-recycling can strengthen not only the environment, but the economy as well. When devices have started to reach the end of their life cycle, the best solution is to seek out a trustworthy ITAD company and complete your role in the Recover, Revive and Reuse cycle.