Every year roughly 300 million tons of garbage is produced by the global population, with only about 20% being recycled or repurposed. It is a problem with a universal impact on our society and quality of life, with no discrimination between wealthier nations and poorer ones. The effects of our plastic use and lack of sustainable production and consumption practices contribute to more severe ecological effects, and the feedback loop of those effects only increases as our consumption continues to grow.
EOS has a mission to mitigate this process, and to eliminate as much of this waste as possible. Because of our specialization in e-waste processing and responsible recycling, as well as our status as R2 Certified, we’ve compiled the top 10 reasons why recycling your e-waste is the best practice for you, your business, the environment, and our society as a whole.
1. E-waste is toxic
By volume e-waste accounts for only 2% of the trash in our landfills, and yet is 70% of the overall toxic waste we produce. This is due mainly to their components and the materials they use, whether it’s plastics or heavy metals or some other dangerous substance. By recycling your items responsibly rather than throwing your old electronics out, you can help your bottom line while also being more environmentally conscious.
2. E-waste has valuable reusable material being wasted
Many of the items we recycle contain a significant amount of gold and silver, as they are highly conductive metals that are useful in electronics. Each year Americans alone dump an estimated 60 million dollars worth of precious metals through improperly disposing of their e-waste alone, and much of this material can be recycled and repurposed for future use.
3. Recycling e-waste saves energy
Recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by over 3,500 U.S. homes in a year. Because of the growing amount of e-waste in circulation within the municipal waste stream, it’s becoming increasingly important to reduce our overall energy consumption, and recycling e-waste mitigates the impact of the other waste streams our society produces.
4. E-waste production is environmentally expensive
It takes 530 lbs of fossil fuel, 48 lbs of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor. The production costs are high, and the consumption and processing costs are even more so. Reusing and repurposing these old materials significantly reduces the carbon footprint of these products, and creates more efficient methods of production.
5. E-waste recycling is profitable and underused
Due in part to the sheer volume of waste produced, and restrictions placed on companies based on their ecological impact, much of the 300-400 million electronic items thrown away in the US get shipped to other countries with lower environmental standards for disposal. Large amounts of e-waste have been sent to countries such as China, India and Kenya, where lower working conditions make processing e-waste more profitable. Around 80 % of the e-waste in the U.S. is exported to Asia. BUT THIS NEED NOT BE THE CASE. There is a growing conscious effort to increase our recycling capacities here in the US to simultaneously grow the industry and benefit the customers who engage in the service. With the profit generated through recycling and repurposing, the rising tide can raise all boats, so to speak.