Technology

An Expert’s Guide to Recycling Electronics the Right Way

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Do you have plenty of electronics nearing or past the end of their life span? Although we have 21% more electronic waste, only 17% of e-waste gets recycled and collected. This means that plenty of precious metals, such as gold and silver, get thrown away. 

Most old electronics end up in landfills. What you may not know is there are toxic heavy metals in many electronics. Metals such as lead can contaminate our soils and enter through our water supplies. 

The best way to keep yourself and other people safe is by recycling electronics. In this guide, we’ll tell you how to recycle old electronics the right way. Read on to learn more about electronic waste, what to do with it, and how to recycle it. 

What Is Electronic Waste?

Electronic waste, or E-waste, covers all electronics that no longer work or have passed their life span. In 2019, there were about 53.6 million tons of e-waste globally. Luckily, almost 100% of e-waste is recyclable. 

All used electronics that you can refurbish, resale, reuse, or salvage are also considered e-waste. However, there are many parts of electronics that you can recycle and reuse. These include glass, metal, silver, copper, and gold parts. 

Electronics That Can Be Recycled

Cell phones are the most common e-waste that you can easily recycle. Every one million units of cell phones hold about 35,000 pounds of copper, 75 pounds of gold, 33 pounds of palladium, and 772 pounds of silver. 

Another common e-waste is computer equipment. Most parts of a computer are recyclable, from the plastic to the different metals. As long as the electronic doesn’t hold toxic materials, you can recycle it. 

Other recyclable electronics include DVD players, stereos, MP3s, and VCRs. TVs have a massive amount of lead, making it harder to recycle analog and digital TVs. Avoid throwing away large appliances, such as microwaves and stoves. 

Larger electronics tend to hold more radioactive material, such as mercury and lead. The adverse effects of E waste on environment areas come from these dangerous metals. 

What to Do Before Recycling Electronics

Before recycling electronics, you need to prepare them for a local electronics recycling business. Your electronics may pass through plenty of hands, and you don’t want others to access your personal data. Here are some things that you should do.

Back-Up Your Data

Check the storage of your electronics, and make sure you save what you need to. Copy all of your documents, files, pictures, and videos on a hard drive or your cloud. This way, you won’t have to worry about your files and data being searched by recyclers. 

Then, you should remove any attached storage on your electronics. This includes floppy drives, USB ports, DVD drives, and card readers. You should also remove any memory card or SIM card attached to your phone or media player. 

Wipe Your Data

Once you remove all the external storage, you’ll have to remove all the internal data. The best way to remove all your data is by either resetting or formatting the device. You can also download disk-cleaning software for your computers to be extra careful. 

How to Recycle Old Electronics

Recycling electronics means getting rid of them in a safer manner where others can reuse its components. You should avoid disposing of electronics in a recycling bin and recycling bag. Here are some smart ways for electronic waste recycling.

Donate to Those Who Need It

If your device works in any way, it’s better to donate your electronics. Many charities find a way to use or fix your electronics to resell them for a cause. You can also donate electronics to a school, library, or nonprofit programs. 

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