A guide to recycling electronics


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An essential guide to how and why recycle the electricals you no longer use.

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A guide to recycling electronics

  1. 1. Recycle Electronics – Why and HowThe days of simple rubbish collection are in the past. These days we have to sort our garbage into amulti-coloured rainbow of receptacles. Recycling is about more than bottles and cans – evenelectronics need to be recycled.Unfortunately consumer electronics often stop working. Screens crack, components overheat andfortunately for the electronics companies you are all of the sudden in the market for a replacementdevice. When this happens it is important that you dispose of your formerly valuable rubbishresponsibly.Your local authority will offer facilities for the safe and proper disposal of old electrical equipment.Polluting the environment by fly tipping is not good, but there are important reasons why youshould ensure that your old electronics are disposed of properly and not included in general waste.ToxicThere are certain components to electronics that highly toxic. If electronic goods are abandoned tolandfill then there is a danger that toxic elements can leak out into groundwater.In mobile phones there are several poisonous elements used in their construction. These includelead and cadmium. Other toxins that can be present include chlorine, mercury and even bromine.Resources There is another important reason to electronic equipment, and that is to conserve the Earth’s finiteresources. For one it takes a lot of water and energy to produce an electronic device. Thoughdomestic users can sometimes save with duel fuel deals the demand for energy from industry is oneof the factors that raises prices.Some of the materials needed to construct modern electronics are extremely hard to come by. Inthe case of coltan (essential for mobile phones, laptops, and other items) its scarcity and value isfuelling conflict in Congo. Recycling helps to reduce this.ReuseJust because your old electronics have become outdated does not mean someone else could notfind a use for them. Even if you don’t get a great price it can be worth selling your old kit. If internet auction sites and car boot sales are not you scene then consider giving your old electronicgoods to a charity shop. Not all charity shops will take electronics, so call ahead rather than cartingyour old whatever across town. There are some charities who will take old computer equipment and refurbish it for some goodcause. Your old computer might not cut it when playing the latest games any more but it could begood enough to get some third world classroom onto the web.