Why is it necessary for electronic devices such as the computer or television to be recycled? One reason is simply because it is part of the law. Many states have laws regarding the disposal of electronic waste. Many businesses inadvertently break the law by simply discarding their obsolete equipment.
The problem with simply discarding equipment doesn’t just stop at breaking the law. Devices that are thrown out eventually end up in land fills or incinerators. Electronic devices can contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and other hazardous materials. These devices, when left sitting in landfills, can leech toxins into the soil and water underground. In addition, incineration of electronic devices can release dangerous toxic fumes into the air we breathe. Not only is it harmful to breathe these fumes, the pollution into our atmosphere can also contribute to climate change. The consequences of improper disposal of electronic waste can have a drastic impact on our health and environment, making electronic waste recycling all the more important and necessary.
In additional to hazardous materials, electronic devices also contain valuable materials such as gold, silver, and copper. These materials can be extracted and reused, thus reducing the need to mine raw materials from the earth. According to the EPA: for every 1 million cell phone that is recycled, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. Recovering these materials means putting less of a burden on our planet by reducing the need to mine the earth for these metals.