One of the fastest growing contributors to the waste stream is electronic waste. It is increasing at a rate three times faster than other types of waste. From mobile phones to televisions, batteries, computers and other electronic appliances, many of our gadgets are polluting the environment and filling up landfills. So it is of utmost importance to recycle our electronic products responsibly and as soon as possible. The primary thing though is it should also be known which components can be reused in new products.
What can we recycle?
According to a survey, about 90% of the components in televisions and computers can be recycled. But every year more than 1.5 million electronic waste are dumped in landfills. Nearly all household electrical gadgets like televisions, hair dryers, mobile phones, toasters, stereos and laundry machines can be recycled as they contain valuable resources. For example, zinc, aluminium, glass, plastic and nickel can all be manufactured and repurposed into new products.
After a certain period of time, it is obvious that all electronic equipment will stop working or become redundant. So it is very important to know how to dispose your e-waste responsibly and safely. It is both costly and dangerous to dump your unwanted electrical items on the kerbside, street, recreational areas or in community parks. Most electrical items are harmful to human health and environment as they contain hazardous substance like phosphorus, lead and mercury. Cleaning up and collecting e-waste also costs a lot of money to the local government and it is a waste of natural resources, like energy, fuel and water.
Can you put e-waste in your normal household recycling bin?
You cannot process most of the electrical items through the normal kerbside collection system. A threat to the workers at your local landfill site is posed by hazardous substances like lead and flame retardants. These are also very dangerous for collection trucks to crash.
So what do you do with my old electrical items?
It is very important to take your electrical goods to a designated e-waste drop off facility, if you want to dispose them safely. These facilities are specially made to handle hazardous substances, sort through old electronic items and recycle products that would otherwise take some years to break down in regular landfills. Electronic waste can be disposed at collection centres for free. Visit your local council website for getting a full list of recycling facilities and find your closest e-waste drop off facility.