Electronics play a critical role in the daily life of the average American. If you’re like many people who recycle near Atlanta, then you may have questions about the process of electronics or e-waste recycling. Read on for some insight into the life cycle of electronics and why your used devices should be recycled and not tossed into dumpsters.
Materials like copper, platinum, gold, and iron are mined from the earth, refined, and then used to create a broad range of the electronics that people use every day. The process of refining raw materials produces greenhouse gas emissions and requires a significant amount of energy. For these reasons, recycling the materials used to make electronics conserves energy and benefits the environment.
Next, the refined materials are used in the manufacturing of electronics. Some manufacturers also use recycled materials during this process. Then, the electronics are sold and used.
When purchasing electronics, it’s ideal to choose those that are designed with environmentally friendly features. Also, select those products that are made with durability, longevity, and recyclability in mind if you want to reduce your environmental impact.
Ideally, all used electronics would be disposed of through a certified electronics recycler. This step can be done in a variety of ways. For example, electronics retailers and community centers often have e-waste recycling bins. Also, some companies offer warranty and mail-in programs that reward consumers for sending in their old devices. These used products can be refurbished or recycled, cutting down on the need for mining and processing new materials. Unfortunately, some used electronics are thrown in waste bins and disposed of in landfills. Once this happens, the valuable materials used to make the electronics cannot be recovered and recycled.
Those electronics that do make it to an e-waste recycling facility are dismantled before being sorted into categories of valuable and recyclable materials, such as aluminum, gold, glass, and copper. Then, the materials return to the supply chain where they can be used to create new electronics and other products.