A guide to recycling electronics

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					Recycle Electronics – Why and How
The days of simple rubbish collection are in the past. These days we have to sort our garbage into a
multi-coloured rainbow of receptacles. Recycling is about more than bottles and cans – even
electronics need to be recycled.

Unfortunately consumer electronics often stop working. Screens crack, components overheat and
fortunately for the electronics companies you are all of the sudden in the market for a replacement
device. When this happens it is important that you dispose of your formerly valuable rubbish
responsibly.

Your local authority will offer facilities for the safe and proper disposal of old electrical equipment.
Polluting the environment by fly tipping is not good, but there are important reasons why you
should ensure that your old electronics are disposed of properly and not included in general waste.

Toxic

There are certain components to electronics that highly toxic. If electronic goods are abandoned to
landfill then there is a danger that toxic elements can leak out into groundwater.

In mobile phones there are several poisonous elements used in their construction. These include
lead and cadmium. Other toxins that can be present include chlorine, mercury and even bromine.

Resources

 There is another important reason to electronic equipment, and that is to conserve the Earth’s finite
resources. For one it takes a lot of water and energy to produce an electronic device. Though
domestic users can sometimes save with duel fuel deals the demand for energy from industry is one
of the factors that raises prices.

Some of the materials needed to construct modern electronics are extremely hard to come by. In
the case of coltan (essential for mobile phones, laptops, and other items) its scarcity and value is
fuelling conflict in Congo. Recycling helps to reduce this.

Reuse

Just because your old electronics have become outdated does not mean someone else could not
find a use for them. Even if you don’t get a great price it can be worth selling your old kit.

 If internet auction sites and car boot sales are not you scene then consider giving your old electronic
goods to a charity shop. Not all charity shops will take electronics, so call ahead rather than carting
your old whatever across town.

 There are some charities who will take old computer equipment and refurbish it for some good
cause. Your old computer might not cut it when playing the latest games any more but it could be
good enough to get some third world classroom onto the web.

				
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