If you’re like most people you probably have piles of old and broken laptops, printers, televisions, and cell phones gathering dust in your home. You have a sneaking suspicion that you shouldn’t simply throw these items in the trash can. That sneaking suspicion is right. When thrown away, these electronic items end up in landfills, polluting the earth for years to come.
So what exactly happens to the electronic waste (e-waste) that gets hauled off by the trash truck?
Every year millions of tons of e-waste end up in landfills. In 2011, 41.5 million tons of e-waste was generated and 70-80 percent of it ended up in landfills, according to Wired. There, the computers, phones, printers, etc. will release their toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, and cadmium both into the ground and into the air, and eventually into our water supply.This affects not only humans but also plants and animals. These chemicals, when released in the air, have been known to cause cancer, reproductive problems, and nerve damage, according to Susanne Dittke, an environmental consultant for EnviroSense.
The good news is that e-waste doesn’t have to end up in landfills. It doesn’t have to pollute the earth or our bodies. Here in Amarillo, TX, all you have to do is drop your devices off at cat-man-du. We partner with KB Recycling to make sure your electronic waste is either reused or properly disposed of. It takes a knowledgeable, trained professional to take apart an electronic device. Many parts of an old computer, for example, can be reused in a new computer, thus reducing the consumption of natural resources, according to techdump.org.
Be smart when it comes to recycling. If you can’t bring your waste to us, make sure the place you bring it to is reputable. E-waste recycling has become a lucrative business, with many companies selling their waste to China or India and making a huge profit, according to Greenpeace International. Make sure the company tries to refurbish items first.
Bringing your old T.V., computer, printer, phone, or other electronic device to cat-man-du doesn’t take much effort but it could have profound impacts on the health of the planet and the people on it. Choosing to be responsible for your own consumption is not a choice, it’s an obligation.