With electronic recycling becoming increasingly crucial to the future of the planet, recovering mobile phones, and recycling old computers, televisions, printers and other electronic goods should be a priority for those that want to improve their ecological footprint. When considering the importance of e-waste recycling, it’s worth remembering some of these more unusual electronic recycling facts from around the world, which illustrate the ongoing need for everyone to make an effort to conserve and properly recycle their electronic items.
1. Mobile Phones
Only 20% of mobile phones are recycled each year, which is amazing when you consider that over a billion phones are sold every year, and that people tend to replace their phone every 18 months. Mobile phones are not only valuable in terms of the precious metals they contain, which include gold and silver, but through their resale and recycling value. In Halton, there are many Take It Back! Halton locations that take back cell phones for recycling.
2. Toxic Waste
Each year, 125 million kg of e-waste ends up in Canadian landfills. Of that, 4.3 million kg is lead, a toxic material. Again, the environmental damage caused by electronic waste comes down to the high volume of precious materials that, when released from their component parts, can seep into the earth and the atmosphere. The same problems are created by plasma televisions and LCD screens that are needlessly dumped. In Halton Region, electronic waste is not collected at the curb, and is not accepted in our landfill. Residents can visit the Halton Waste Management Site to drop off their electronics for recycling free of charge.
3. Personal Computer (PC) Waste
Only 2% of old PCs are currently being rebuilt, which is a staggering fact when you consider how straightforward it can be to put an old computer to use, rather than simply throwing it away. A PC can either be wiped and sold onto a new buyer, or stripped down for its parts. Like other electronic goods, the recycling value of a PC largely comes down to its plastic and metal components, and to the precious metals that make up its circuitry.
4. Car Batteries
Most people don’t realize that car batteries contain 60 to 80% recyclable materials, and represent much more than something that can be thrown away. When recycled, car batteries are crushed down and divided into their plastic parts, which can be cleaned and used in new moulds. The lead from batteries can similarly be purified, while the acid contained within batteries can be neutralized into water and salt. Halton residents can drop off car batteries for recycling at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot at the Halton Waste Management Site.
5. Guiyu, China
China is considered one of the worst dumping grounds for e-waste, and the town of Guiyu which is the centre of dumping and salvaging. An amazing 1.5 million tonnes of e-waste passes through this Chinese town every year, with 60,000 people estimated to labour on stripping down circuit boards and melting down parts. Even worse, most of the e-waste that ends up in Guiyu is not recycled, but simply scavenged or melted. Thankfully, Recycle Your Electronics, the e-waste diversion program operated by the Ontario Electronic Stewardship — and which Halton is part of — ensures materials stay within North America for recycling.
About this guest blogger:
Based in Essex, England, Rob James recommends home appliance insurance to protect white goods (appliances). He considers himself a bit of a handyman and enjoys fixing broken home appliances. When he’s not tinkering he can be found blogging about what he’s learned over the years.