More than paper and plastic: The need for improved e-waste recycling

January 21st, 2011 by TRT Blog

Many know about the need to recycle paper and plastic products. Educating consumers about the need and benefits of recycling has helped encourage manufacturers to increase creation of recycled materials and goods. With a continued commitment we hope to see 100% of our paper and plastic goods recycled in our future.

But those aren’t the only products that should be at the forefront of the recycling movement. As technology advances and older models become outdated, the need for more intelligent disposal of electronic goods is becoming more prevalent. E-waste, is proving to be just as dangerous to our environment as plastics and paper have been. Considering that a single TV contains a high level of toxic materials including lead, it must become a higher priority to properly recycle items that can, in theory, be replaced every year.

E-waste dumping routes. Image via oafrica.com

When the removal and disposal of electronics does not happen responsibly, the yearly discard of over 50 tons ends up in landfills where the innards of items from cell phones to computer monitors are slowly leaked out and damaging the environment. In some instances, ‘recycling’ is not what it seems, since scrap yards sell off material to salvagers around the world, where environmental laws are lacking or non-existent making the process no better than it would be here in the States.

Fortunately as product consumption grows, awareness does as well. The Environmental Protection Agency lists retail stores and manufacturers who participate in recycling programs. We here at The Refinishing Touch do our part as well with a nationwide EPA and OSHA compliant television recycling program. And a quick search through Google can lead to re-sell programs where companies buy your old gear and re-sell to buyers looking for discounted or refurbished models.

While far from perfect, general recycling has grown due to responsible programs and widespread education. Thankfully for e-waste, there are many more reputable programs in place and beginning around the country helping consumers in the notoriously fashionable world of electronics responsibly and effectively recycle their old TVs, computers, and phones.

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