In the new frontiers of recycling, one of the most important ones is E-Waste. E-Waste is the shortened version of “electronic waste,” and although it mainly refers to computers, it also includes cell phones, TVs, stereos, gaming systems and anything electronic.
International Greenpeace reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that over 4.6 million tons of e-waste ended up in landfills in the year 2000. The ensuing problem is the contamination of the ground, ground water, and air being polluted by toxins as these items break-down or are burned. So what is the solution?
Re-Use—In the waste hierarchy of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle the first to be approached in E-Waste is the reusing of old electronics. This is appears to be the most practiced methods, as most families will put the old computer in the kids’ room and or pass the old cell phone down to the pre-teen for their first phone. While it makes sense to extend the use of these items, it does not deal with the eventual problem of where to put it after it is beyond being used. Many of these items will eventually be shipped to third world countries to be used in their schools– which although admirable–then leaves the items to be disposed of in a country that does not have the necessary technology to do so in an environmentally-sound way.
Re-Cycle – The next step in the waste hierarchy also brings its own problems. The main problem with recycling e-waste is that if it is not done in an appropriate facility, the workers can be exposed to the harmful chemicals found in the plastics. The plastics need to be cared for in a location that does not incinerate them, thereby releasing the chemicals into the air. Again, when these items end up in developing countries the workers being exposed to these chemicals are usually children.
E-Cycle – An environmentally-conscious method of recycling commonly known as “e-cycling,” is rapidly gaining ground: People recycle their electronics by taking them to centers that will properly dispose of or recycle them. Most communities have designated dates for people to take their electronics to a certified e-cycling facility. All three communities that we serve, Bloomingdale, Wheaton and Downers Grove have e-cycling programs in place.
Additionally, following the entrepreneurial spirit of our country, private companies are sprouting offering incentives for people to turn in their used electronics. One such company is ECO-ATM, with kiosks in shopping malls around Chicago, that offers cash for your used or broken electronics. We recommend, however, if choosing a private company, that you do your due diligence to ensure that your electronics will be properly disposed of or recycled.
At Cartridge World Bloomingdale, Downers Grove and Wheaton, we pride ourselves in helping our customers find new ways to recycle. Come in one of our stores and let us help you with your printing needs by providing re-manufactured and refilled printer cartridges. You can also find us on the web at our blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter pages.