Got E-waste? Put it to Work.

By Gina Murphy-Darling (Mrs. Green)

It never ceases to amaze me that people still actually throw their computers, printers, cell phones, chargers, TVs, extension cords etc. into the garbage. Not only do most electronic devices contain things that will harm us, the natural resources used to make them are disappearing. Yet there are great, legitimate companies all over the world that will take your e-trash and turn it into treasure.

computerJust take two minutes to watch this short video and see what one nonprofit in Tucson, Arizona is doing to turn waste into profits that support amazing job training, computer training and, yes, even Grandmother Computer training. Don’t landfill your e-waste. Instead take it to a recycler like RISE and turn it into something good for the planet and your community. Small steps, big impact.

Eleven Facts We Should all Care About

1. 80 to 85 percent of electronic products are discarded in landfills or incinerators, which can release certain toxics into the air.
2. E-waste represents 2 percent of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70 percent of overall toxic waste. The extreme amount of lead in electronics alone causes damage in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the blood and the kidneys.
3. 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.
4. Cell phones and other electronic items contain high amounts of precious metals like gold or silver. Americans dump phones containing over $60 million in gold/silver every year.
5. Only 12.5 percent of e-waste is currently recycled.
6. For every 1 million cell phones that are recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.
7. Recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year.
8. E-waste is still the fastest growing municipal waste stream in America, according to the EPA.
9. A large number of what is labeled as “e-waste” is actually not waste at all, but rather whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse or can be recycled for materials recovery.
10. It takes 539 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor
11. Electronic items that are considered to be hazardous include, but are not limited to:

• Televisions and computer monitors that contain cathode ray tubes
• LCD desktop monitors
• Laptop computers with LCD displays
• LCD televisions
• Plasma televisions
• Portable DVD players with LCD screens.

Sources: EPA, Electronics Take Back Coalition, Business Insider, eWaste Center,Possitiv!ty