At this point we know that recycling our e-waste is important. Technology presents the fastest growing waste stream on the planet, and with the way we as consumers are programmed to get the latest and greatest gadgets, it’s unlikely that that waste stream will slow. So, especially this holiday season when we are more prone to upgrading our electronics, it’s important to remember the benefits to recycling our old electronics instead of simply discarding them.
From the elimination of heath and environmental hazards to conservation of finite resources and even to economic growth, the benefits of recycling our e-waste vary far and wide. There’s an estimated four million tons of e-waste being disposed of in landfills every year. The majority of this e-waste contains toxic, non-biodegradable substances, including lead, mercury, arsenic, and rare earth elements like barium and cadmium. As these electronics sit in landfills, the toxins seep into the soil, contaminating groundwater and polluting the atmosphere. This can lead to health problems for surrounding communities, as well as problems in agricultural lands. E-waste recycling also contributes to eliminating ten major categories of air pollutants and eight major categories of water pollutants. Another thing to note, we are wasting valuable land on the landfill that house all this waste. Recycling has the potential to divert almost a quarter, 80 million tons, of that waste from landfills and incinerators.
Recycling e-waste not only helps the environment, it also helps the economy. The recycling industry generates billions in payroll each year, and the increase of recyclable goods —technology— generates more job opportunities. For instance, to recycle 10,000 tons of e-waste, a fraction of what is being generated every year, 36 jobs are created in the United States. That means, if we all recycle our old technology we can create over 1 million jobs every year. That’s huge! Recycling e-waste is easier than you might think, too. What many people don’t know is that Best Buy actually has a one of the most comprehensive recycling programs in the United States. It’s extraordinarily easy to use, and available online. So, if you happen to be one of the thousands of people purchasing electronics through Best Buy this holiday season, just click over to their recycling program and recycle that old tablet or television that you are upgrading! For every person recycling their old gadgets, there are million of jobs being created, and millions of tons of e-waste being diverted from landfills. While it may seem like an enormous undertaking, tackling our electronic-waste epidemic begins with our own small efforts.
Learn more about the benefits of recycling e-waste and Best Buy's recycling program:
Best Buy's Electronic Recycling Program
Totally Digestable List Of The Benefits To Recycling