The Top 7 Benefits of Recycling E-Waste
At this point, we probably shouldn’t have to tell you that we’re big fans of recycling. We’ve been so enthusiastic about the benefits of recycling e-waste that you’re probably well aware of most of the big ones by now. Plus, recycling is kind of a general no-brainer these days. Most of us have heard plenty about the benefits of reducing the amount of waste we generate, and many people have been conscientious recyclers for years, if not decades.
All the same, we’ve put together even more reasons why you should be just as excited about computer scrap e-waste recycling as we are. In fact, we rounded up seven top benefits of recycling e-waste to persuade you that it’s the right way to go.
The following points are all the reasons why we think you should gather up all the electronic junk gathering dust in your life and drop it off at your nearest electronics recycling center. The benefits of recycling e-waste are wide-ranging and far-reaching, covering both local perks and worldwide pluses. Hopefully you can find at least one that will motivate you to recycle your electronic waste.
1. Help the environment.
We’ve already spoken at length about the environmental benefits of recycling e-waste, and for good reason. This is the top motivator for recycling e-waste for a lot of people and organizations. When you look at how damaging the alternative can be to the environment, it’s easy to see why. We’ll keep this section fairly brief for your sake, but let’s dive into a few specifics.
Many of the components used to make electronics have to be mined. That’s not a very environmentally friendly process on its own. Now, add to it the fact that these are finite resources, and the necessity of computer scrap e-waste recycling becomes quite clear. There will come a point where there simply isn’t any tin or copper left to mine. Recycled electronics are a great way to get these resources — for example, you can recover as much as 35,274 pounds of copper from every million smart phones recycled.
Reusing these resources not only preserves the existing ones still left to mine, but it also uses less energy. It’s far more efficient to repurpose those existing materials instead of extracting new ones.
Plus, not all resources recovered from dead electronics are used to create new ones. They can find new life in other types of products. For example, the plastic from smart phones can be used to make new lawn furniture. The metal can also be transfused into car parts.
Some resources are more prevalent in electronics than others, and the market’s needs are always changing, but it’s definitely safe to say that reusing materials from existing electronics is definitely one of the major environmental benefits of recycling e-waste.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that if you’re not partaking in computer scrap e-waste recycling, you’re letting it sit in a landfill for virtually forever. What might be more surprising, however, is how many toxic chemicals a lot of e-waste contains. Lead is very common in electronics — CRT monitors, for example, can have literal pounds of it. You don’t want any of those types of harmful substances getting into our air or water supply. Keeping electronics out of landfills is one key way to do just that.
It’s also important to point out that to have the best environmental benefits of recycling e-waste, you need to donate your items to a reputable center. Some computer scrap e-waste recycling centers will ship your items overseas where they’re not disposed of properly. To get at the valuable metals within the components, they’ll sometimes burn up the plastic, which releases really harmful toxins into the atmosphere. There are also human costs to these kinds of unethical practices. Many overseas electronics recycling centers have their workers disassemble the devices by hand, and those workers sometimes include children.
This all means that it’s important to do you due diligence for a lot of reasons, both ethical and environmental. If you’re really motivated by reducing pollution, you can definitely find a recycling center that gets the job done the right way.
2. Declutter your home.
If you’re in need of more self-centered benefits of recycling e-waste, we’ve got a great one for you. Most of us have some kind of drawer or cabinet or disorganized pile of old electronics. It’s ugly, it’s annoying, and it takes up valuable space. One of the big benefits of recycling e-waste is that it gets all those annoying cords and screens out of your way, freeing up space for different junk.
Sure, this isn’t one of the benefits of e-waste recycling that’s going to change the world. Cleaning up and organizing your space isn’t something that’s revolutionary, but it’s a definite plus for many people seeking out computer scrap e-waste recycling. Especially for those who live in small spaces, having extra, unusable items around your home is nothing but a nuisance. If you can’t use your electronics anymore, the best place for them is an e-recycling center. Computer scrap e-waste recycling is a great way to reclaim your junk drawer.
3. Help those in need.
These sorts of programs aren’t computer scrap e-waste recycling in the most traditional sense. However, they’re still valuable ways to give old electronics a new life. Some e-waste recycling centers will try to refurbish or repair the devices they receive before scrapping them entirely, and if the electronics can be salvaged, they’ll donate them to classrooms or other programs that are in desperate need of electronic devices.
The “digital divide” is growing more and more steep. Especially with the recent need for online schooling, students need more access to these types of devices than ever before. Plus, many jobs require digital-based skills of some sort. It’s vital to get electronics in the hands of people who need them most.
Since these opportunities are less obvious forms of computer scrap e-waste recycling, this might be one of the least-known benefits of recycling e-waste. Now you know, and hopefully, you’ll use this knowledge to pay it forward.
4. Comply with the law.
Okay, so this one is less of a benefit and more of a requirement. But it still stands — one of the biggest benefits of recycling e-waste is that you’ll stay on the right side of the law in many places.
The specific requirements when it comes to computer scrap e-waste recycling and other forms of e-cycling vary from state to state. However, there’s a good chance that some form of electronic recycling is mandated where you live. Many states have banned certain electrical components from trash cans, requiring that they be properly recycled instead. Some specifically restrict the ways businesses and other large organizations dispose of their electronic waste. This is largely due to all the other benefits of recycling e-waste on this list, especially the environmental concerns. Governments that recognize how harmful electronic waste can be in landfills have taken measures to keep them out.
Check with your local or state government to be sure of the laws in your neck of the woods, and make sure to recycle your e-waste according to those guidelines.
5. Earn a little extra cash.
Some e-recycling centers will offer you money for specific kinds of e-waste. Others will charge you to haul away certain difficult items, like CRT TVs. And you might not earn anything at all, other than the other benefits of recycling e-waste that we’ve outlined here.
Nonetheless, you might get lucky and discover a recycling center that will pay you for computer scrap e-waste recycling. You won’t make a lot, but if you can pile up a bunch of electronic junk, you might make enough to make it worth your while. There are a lot of valuable materials tangled up in those computer elements, and some facilities will pay for them. Manufacturers often use copper, gold, and other valuable metals to make computers and other electronics. So, check to see if any compensation is available at your e-recycling center of choice.
6. Lower the cost of goods.
This is one of the benefits of recycling e-waste that goes along with a lot of the other ones we’ve listed here. Because recycling reduces the need for mining new materials, that lowers the cost of goods. Using recycled materials is cheaper than mining them in a lot of cases. Increasing computer scrap e-waste recycling in large quantities would help this come to pass at an even faster rate. You’re not going to have too much of an impact on the worldwide market on your own. However, if we all commit to computer scrap e-waste recycling and recycling as many of our outdated gadgets as we can, then we’re going to have a huge, positive effect on making electronics more affordable.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that these savings would be passed onto the consumer, but that’s a different can of worms. It stands that computer scrap e-waste recycling makes it cheaper to produce electronics, and that can only be a benefit of recycling e-waste.
7. Keep your data safe.
You probably aren’t thinking about all the personal data stored on your old computers that you don’t use anymore, but you probably should be. It’s important to destroy detay properly for security reasons. Reputable e-waste recycling centers will best know how to do that. It’s one of the lesser-known benefits of recycling e-waste. Not only will you be getting rid of a device that you no longer need, but you’ll also be ensuring the security of your personal data.
Computer scrap e-waste recycling can scrub your data from the device in a variety of ways, some more effective than others. Don’t think that simply deleting your data is enough — it’s still there, even if you can’t easily access it. A factory reset might be all you need to do, but there are more thorough ways of permanently getting rid of your data. This is especially important in the business world. You don’t want proprietary company secrets getting into the hands of a bad actor.
As such, you need to make sure the facility is going to properly get rid of all your data, and you should do what you can before dropping your computer off for recycling. If you’re interested in all the different ways an e-waste recycling center can destroy your data for good, you can read our previous blog post about it here.
Cash in on the benefits of recycling e-waste.
Now you know how much you and the world can benefit from computer scrap e-waste recycling. Some benefits are personal to you, like getting rid of extra clutter around your house or earning a little extra cash on the side. You’ll also be ensuring that none of your private data falls into the wrong hands.
Other benefits of recycling e-waste are more global in scope. By responsibly disposing of your unwanted electronics, you won’t contribute to more mining of the materials made to create them, which can, in turn, make those new electronics cheaper to build. What’s more, you’ll be keeping harmful chemicals out of landfills. Some programs will even refurbish and donate your old devices, meaning they can serve someone less fortunate if they’re no longer serving you.
Obviously, we’re big computer scrap e-waste recycling advocates. But you should also do what you can to keep your computers for as long as possible. If you take good care of it and make sure it’s got all the features you need when you buy it, it should last a good, long time. And this goes for other devices, too. Charge your phone according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, and do what you can to resist the temptation of buying a new phone every year. That way, you’ll reduce the materials required to make electronics.
Whatever way you choose to extend the life of your computer or phone or any other electronic you’ve got laying around, now you know exactly what’s in it for you. Happy recycling!