America Recycles Day is this Sunday, November 15, 2015. Recycling of daily waste, including paper, plastic and metal, is commonplace, but some of the most important materials to recycle are often not properly taken care of. These materials can be found in old electronics, or e-waste.
Electronics sales are skyrocketing each year as manufacturers continue to release new-and-improved versions of older devices. Gartner issued a report estimating there will be 268 million computers (laptops and desktops), 455 million tablets and 1.96 billion cellphones sold in 2015 alone, not counting other electronics already in circulation.
This amount of electronics in circulation each year means users often forget to turn in older devices for proper electronics recycling. When e-waste is recycled, precious metals and other materials inside the devices can be reused for better purposes. One ton of used cellphones can warrant up to $15,000 in precious metals, to break that down, recycling 1 million cell phones yields 50 pounds of gold, 550 pounds of silver and 20 pounds of palladium.
Proper electronics recycling methods not only yield return from precious metals, but prevents these devices from being thrown into a landfill. Improper disposal of e-waste can result in dangerous living conditions for residents around the dump site, including toxic gas.
When choosing to recycle your personal electronics, be sure to research any opportunities in your community. Vendors, including Best Buy, offer recycling opportunities. For more information, visit the Electronics TakeBack Coalition’s website, which includes a detailed list of how to recycle your personal electronics.