There are many types of materials that go into the making of modern computers that can be recycled. Silicon chips, hard disks, resistors, and capacitors can all be found inside any electronic device. Many of these contain materials that are scarce, with no known substitute, and doing your part in the recycling process is important. Decreasing e-waste aims to preserve resources and the amount of energy we use to make those devices.
On average annually in the United States, we have 3.2 million tons of electronic waste, and most of it is computers, monitors, and TVs. Here are six things we can do to reduce that waste or properly recycle it:
1. Recycle. It’s not the amount of electronic waste that we have, but what it contains that does the damage. Batteries most commonly contain lead, which can be harmful to the environment.
2. Unplug. Wait until your battery is empty to charge it back, and avoid leaving it plugged in for too long. This will help make your electronic device last longer. Also, try to protect your devices by keeping them in cases and clean of dust.
3. Appraise. One size doesn’t always fit all, but try to find a device that does more than one thing. Multitasking is key. The more you can do with one device, the fewer devices you’ll need.
4. Reuse. The best way to get rid of old devices is to return the equipment back to the manufacturer for refurbishing, reuse, or resale. There are also plenty of electronic equipment recycling companies that will pay you for your old devices!
5. Buy green. Look for the Energy Star label on products that are environmentally friendly. These devices use less electricity than those that aren’t certified.
6. Donate. You can always give away your old cell phone to people that need it the most. Choose a cause you really care about, and visit their website for a prepaid mail in option.
When it comes to electronics for your office or home, less is always more. Use only the resources that are necessary and upgrade when you deem fit.