You probably have old cell phones, computers, or cables sitting around your house, and you probably haven’t considered how you will dispose of them. Many people may be tempted to just toss them in the trash, but that can be hazardous for a variety of reasons.
The correct way to dispose of these materials is through a reputable e-waste recycling program. By recycling your e-waste responsibly, you can help to avoid many of the ways this type of waste can become harmful. By recycling, your old electronics can be refurbished or taken apart, and the components can be recycled and reused. Here are the reasons why disposing of e-waste improperly is such a hazard:
Toxic Substances in Landfills
If someone tosses an old cell phone or some other electronic device in the trash, it will be sent to the landfill. In this case, the components of the device will eventually open and expose the heavy metals and toxic substances inside.
Just some of the toxic substances that may be present in electronics include lead, nickel, mercury, and more. Some states even prohibit smashing electronics in places like “rage rooms” because of the toxic chemicals that can be released. So keep this in mind before you toss an electronic device in the trash, and try to find an e-waste recycling organization to send your items to.
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If these devices are sent to a landfill or otherwise improperly handled or disposed of, these toxic chemicals and substances can leach into the soil. Once these chemicals have reached the soil, they can travel to nearby waterways, thus contaminating the local water. They can also contaminate the air.
This can be extremely hazardous for anyone nearby who is breathing the air and drinking the water or using it for cooking and bathing. High amounts of these substances can cause a variety of health problems, and this can be avoided by properly disposing of electronic devices through recycling.
E-waste is also sometimes shipped to developing countries, where it may be improperly handled or disposed of. In this case, workers handling the waste are exposed to the toxic chemicals, and people living nearby are also exposed if the waste is improperly dumped in a landfill.
Children in developing countries are especially at risk if they live or play near the sites where this waste is dumped. They may be exposed to the hazardous materials through a variety of different routes, and the amount they are exposed to can be extremely high.
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Again, the major way to avoid all of these hazards is to properly dispose of your electronic devices through a reputable e-waste recycling organization or program. Check with your city or town to see if they offer any electronic recycling program, or search for other programs in your area.
By recycling your electronic devices like old cell phones, computers, TVs, cameras, AV equipment, some appliances, and more, you can prevent these hazardous substances from being released into the environment.