Climate For Action: Electronic Recycling

About the Author: Loreal Crumbley, a senior at George Mason University, is an intern with EPA’s Environmental Education Division through EPA’s Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The use of electronics has become a major factor in our everyday life. Sometimes I find myself carrying around three or four electronic devices at a time. Our society has changed into a fast paced electronic friendly culture. In the late 1980’s home computers were introduced to our society and less than 20 years later almost every home has a computer. The advancement in technology has allowed people to carry portable phones, computers and music devices. The manufacturing and use of electronics has dramatically increased. This increase in electronic use has also increased the necessity to recycle old electronics. Recycling electronics helps reduce the pollution that is created when manufacturers create new appliances. There are many ways to reuse and recycle these appliances.

Donating old electronics can be a good way to keep electronics from entering the waste stream. Donating used electronics to charity organizations will benefit low-income families that cannot afford electronic equipment. Electronics can also be donated to schools and other non-profit organizations.

States and local governments have been working with manufacturers on creating places to recycle and reuse old appliances. There are many places that you can take used electronic appliances such as local electronics retailers, repair shops, charitable organizations, and electronics recycling companies. Many manufacturers accept used appliances free of charge. I would suggest contacting the maker of your appliance and see what sort of recycling initiatives that they have. Here is a website that identifies local electronic recycling companies by just typing in your zip code http://www.eiae.org/ .

The manufacturing process of electronics uses lots of energy and resources. Essential resources like metal, copper, and plastics are always used in the manufacturing of electronics. By recycling electronics we will be able to reduce the amount of valuable resources used and recycle the used resources. For more information on recycling electronics please visit these websites:

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/index.htm

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/plugin/recycleit.htm

If you know of any other cool places to drop off old electronics fill me in!!!