Disposing of Electronic Waste Responsibly
As technology has begun to permeate more and more of our daily lives, the amount of electronic waste that we generate has risen. And because many people don’t know how to deal with e-waste, much of it ends up where it doesn’t belong—harming the environment. Take the time to educate yourself and others about appropriate disposal of electronics.
Did You Know?
Sneaking batteries and electronic waste (e-waste) into the garbage is not only illegal, but also bad for the environment.
Some “recycling facilities” that accept e-waste sell these items to developing countries (such as China, Mexico, and African countries) where children go through the waste to extract copper and other valuable items for money. In the process, these children get exposed to hazardous chemicals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to dispose of these items properly and keep dangerous waste out of the environment.
Examine the Packaging—Help family members get into the habit of looking at packaging before they open a purchased item to see if there are any messages stating that the item needs to be recycled as hazardous waste when it’s used up. More and more items for sale now need to be disposed as hazardous waste rather than through a landfill.
Create a Space for E-Waste—Have a place in your home (or garage) where family members can place their non-working electronic items (and batteries) to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Otherwise, it’s too tempting to toss these items into the trash.
Find Your Local Hazardous Waste Facility—Most communities and counties have a hazardous waste facility that allows you to drop off dangerous materials. Find out what they accept and how to drop off these items safely. Some families visit these facilities once or twice a year, depending on the amount of hazardous waste they generate.
Learn More about the Problems of Improperly Disposed E-Waste—ABC News did a story on e-waste. Read “U.S. Electronic Waste Gets Sent to Africa”.
Use E-Waste Drop-off Sites—Many companies, such as Best Buy, collect electronic waste. To learn more about their program, visit Best Buy’s recycling page.
Talk with Others about E-Waste—Too many people assume that it’s okay to toss batteries and other electronic waste into the garbage. Encourage your friends and family to dispose of these items properly. Get the word out.