On April 22, Earth Day 2014 will be upon us. For over four decades Earth Day has inspired a growing social awareness of how human presence impacts the environment. In recognition of the 45th annual Earth Day, Sims Recycling Solutions will once again sponsor e-waste collection events around the world.
E-waste is the fastest growing segment of waste disposal today, with up to an estimated 50 million metric tons of global e-waste disposed of annually. And e-waste, by far, is the largest contributor of toxic waste in landfills: 70 percent of the heavy metals found in landfills, including mercury, cadmium and lead, are the direct result of disposed-of electronics.
As Earth Day 2014 approaches, we would like you to consider the impact your electronics have on the environment and ask you to take these steps to responsibly manage your e-waste.
Put off that upgrade. During a recent electronics recycling collection event, consumers were asked their reason for discarding their devices. Results from this survey disclosed that only 20 percent were dropping off items because they no longer worked. Remaining figures revealed that 40 percent of consumers brought devices because they simply did not use or want the item and 39 percent because they had upgraded. Rather than upgrading at every new product release cycle, make more strategic electronics purchases. Put off the upgrade until your existing electronics truly outlive their usefulness.
Reuse what you can. Even when you have no choice but to upgrade, your outdated electronics can often still be reused and repurposed for less demanding activities. An extra computer monitor can be reused as a second display for a laptop or desktop PC, and a large LCD TV can easily serve as a powerful and effective new monitor itself. If you have no use for your older equipment, others might. Consider giving it to an employee or a friend, or donating it to a local thrift store or nonprofit. Try to give your electronics new life by contributing it to a good cause.
Schedule the pickup. When your equipment is no longer usable, don’t leave it piled up in storage. All devices gradually lose value over time, and the sooner it is recycled, the more value it may still have. If you have exhausted the possibilities for reusing or repurposing your gadget or device, it is time to make the call. Schedule a pickup and get your e-waste responsibly recycled.
Don’t store your e-waste, especially outside. Modern electronics are full of dangerous and highly toxic substances. When the machine is in good working condition, these dangers are contained – but when it deteriorates with age and improper storage, those hazardous toxins can be exposed to the environment. Don’t leave e-waste stored unattended, or outside where the sun, rain and other weather conditions can do their damage. Leaving e-waste in storage increases the risks of theft, health damage and further problems. Instead, recycle your e-waste promptly once it no longer serves any useful purpose.