The future of electronics recycling
Once electronics became small enough and inexpensive enough to be used and replace in quick cycles, the amount e-waste started to accumulate at an exponential rate. E-cycling has only recently become widespread. This is because for a long time, electronic items were simply disposed of in landfills.
Nearly all electronic waste contains some harmful materials that can potentially leach into the ground of a landfill and, if enough manages to escape, create environmental problems for people who must live near the site or work in the area. Some rare metals in computers and cell phones even have the potential to become airborne and spread far outside the area where they were originally dumped.
Most businesses use some electronic devices. These could be printers and monitors, coolers for chemicals or more advanced electronics for surveying or field work. Businesses must now determine whether they need the specific services of a dedicated e-cycler or not.
Many places around the world actually have laws and ordinances that state that electronic waste must be disposed of by an e-cycling company. In these areas, a business must use one of these companies. However, in other areas it is possible to use local recycling centers for small amounts of waste that can be handled with a minimum cost.
The decision comes down to the amount of electronic waste that a business produces. For a business that must only occasionally replace a printer or monitor every few years, it makes much more sense to rely on irregular trips to a recycling center. There are ever certain retail outlets which will accept e-waste in the hope that they can refurbish it.
For a business that uses many computers, laptops, cell phones or other devices which can potentially stop functioning often, the use of an e-cycler is always more cost effective than relying on other means.
Electronics recyclers can do a variety of things with the waste. Sometimes they just strip out the parts that are potentially harmful and dispose of the rest in a landfill. Other times they attempt to melt down or recycle the most valuable parts of a machine. More commonly, e-waste is now being shipped to countries that have more lax laws about recycling where it can either be put in a landfill or stripped for parts.
This is why e-cycling companies are becoming more and more prevalent. Whichever option is chosen, there are very few areas left where electronic waste can simply be placed in the trash to be taken away. New laws have made it mandatory to think about where broken electronics go.