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E-Waste: What happens with your outdated or broken gadgets
Source: CBS News, Date: , 2013
fans across the world could not wait to get their hands on Apple's new iPhone 5
as soon as it was released; even though the new device required a whole new set
of chords, and connectors. What many Apple enthusiasts did not think about was
the amount of electronic waste, or e-waste, that their new toys created.
One of the growing concerns of many
environmentalists is that as technology changes so does the need to get rid of
the outdated devices and their related parts. According to the Earth Day
Network, Americans produce over 50 million tons of e-waste.
discarded electronics often end up in landfills or are incinerated, which can
cause major environmental problems, as they are made up of extremely hazardous
materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium. If the e-waste is left in a
landfill or incinerated, the harmful chemicals will leak into the ground and
atmosphere causing multiple problems for the communities. They also don't just
disappear, so old printers, monitors and phone chords continue to stay in the
landfills for centuries creating problems for the surrounding areas.
that 50 million tons of waste per year, only around 20 to 25 percent of it is
actually gotten rid of safely and unfortunately, the final 75 percent ends up
of the easiest ways to prevent problems like this from occurring is to properly
recycle the devices, but finding a place to recycle them is not always easy.
county in the United States has a solid waste program, every county, every city
every state has solid waste program, but there is no real program for
e-waste," explains Earth Day Network's president Kathleen Rogers.
"Each county has a different way that they collect e-waste, some may ship
it to another state, some have partnerships with different recycling companies,
and some do not do anything at all."
recommends checking with your county to see what options they have for getting
rid of e-waste, as there is no federal guidance for dealing with this type of
garbage. In some cases you need to drive the electronics directly to the local
dump to be sorted, or go to an e-waste collection site at a local municipality.
there are also a few other options for consumers to do on their own. Some
private companies, such as Best Buy and Home Depot offer options for recycling
e-waste, and they take on the burden of sorting and figuring out where to ship
it. It's important to check out the specifics about what they will take before
hauling a bunch of unacceptable items to your local store. Each state has
specific regulations for what e-waste can be recycled, and they will turn you
away if you bring in the wrong things.
also the option to resell or trade-in your current device after you upgrade to
a new one.This can be done privately through websites like Amazon.com and
Gazelle.com, or through the manufactures like Apple and Samsung. Another option
is to try recycling location search engine 1800recycling.com, which finds local
places that recycle anything from electronics to hazardous waste.
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