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All About Electronic Waste

The availability of cheap electronic goods combined with our ever-advancing world of technology are rapidly creating a worldwide crisis. E-waste, or electronic waste, resulting from consumers improperly disposing of old equipment without a second glance, is taking its toll not only on the environment, but on the population as well.

What is electronic waste?

The fastest growing waste stream in many countries, e-waste includes any item that utilizes a battery or plugs into an electrical outlet for operation.

What’s the big deal?

  • Unnecessary waste. A great deal of electronic waste is not really waste at all, but recyclable parts and materials such as precious metals. A great deal of improperly discarded products can be refurbished and reused before dying an untimely death in a landfill. At this time, only 11-14 percent of U.S. electronic waste ready for disposal is actually recycled and reused. The U.S. is also the only country in the world to ship this waste to developing nations for breakdown.
  • Toxins. Electronic waste contains extremely toxic substances, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium, flame retardants, and more. These are elemental toxins that never disappear. When burned to destroy waste, they create even more toxins, such as halogenated dioxins and furans known to cause cancer, reproductive issues, endocrine disorders, and more. Improperly disposing of e-waste is harmful to the environment, global communities, and you.
  • Personal information. The typical electronic gadget becomes obsolete within 1-3 years of purchase. When it is unceremoniously tossed in favor of the latest and greatest without data being securely destructed, all of the confidential personal information stored within it is put at risk. It is estimated that 70 percent of data breaches come from offline, improperly disposed of equipment.
  • Responsibility. Because e-waste is the fastest growing source of waste in the nation’s landfills, safe e-waste disposal solutions are essential to preserving our health and the environment.

Categories of e-waste include:

  • Office equipment. Desktop and laptop computers, keyboards, monitors and screens, tablets, fax machines, scanners, copiers, printing cartridges, power strips, docking stations, Wi-fi setups, adding machines and calculators, chargers, and many more.
  • Telecommunications. Mobile and home phones, PBX systems, pagers, routers, network hubs, chargers, and LCD signage.
  • Entertainment equipment. Analog, plasma and LED TVs, DVDs, DVRs, iPods/MP3s, chargers, stereo equipment, speakers, and clocks of all kinds.
  • Large appliances. Refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, washers, dryers, and more.
  • Small appliances. Microwave ovens, toaster ovens, bread machines, waffle irons, mixers, blenders, coffee machines, crockpots, rice cookers, electric kettles and pans, hot plates, and irons.
  • Environmental appliances. Air conditioners and heaters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers.
  • Lighting. Light fixtures and lamps. All light bulbs.
  • Personal appliances. Hair dryers, tooth brushes, curling irons, shavers, hair clippers, water picks, and more.
  • Medical equipment. Wheelchairs, bath lifts, and other medical items.
  • Power tools. Drills, table saws, grinders, sanders, saws, and other electric hand tools.
  • Fitness equipment. Treadmills, ellipticals, stair steppers, and bikes. Cardio equipment. Timing devices.
  • Energy equipment. Electrical meters and monitors, wireless hubs.

Government regulations

Twenty five U.S. states have laws requiring e-waste recycling, which is typically free to consumers, however comprehensive federal laws have not yet been established. 15 states have landfill disposal bans on electronic waste. For information on your state, contact theNational Center for Electronics Recycling.

Got e-waste?

In cooperation with HirePatriots, a program of parent non-profit Patriotic Hearts dedicated to providing jobs for U.S. veterans and support services for their families, Mr. Electric® offers complete, professional electronic waste management solutions. As part of the Veterans Green Projects, HirePatriots is leading the way in providing safe e-waste recycling and disposal. Contact Mr. Electric today for all your e-waste management needs. With the help of HirePatriots, we can help you safely and responsibly recycle or dispose of your used electronic gadgets and appliances. Your world – and your family - is counting on you.