A Guide to Recycling Electronics: Everything You Need to Know

Did you know that electronic waste (ewaste) is the fastest-growing type of waste in the world? According to the United Nations, ewaste accounted for only 2% of global municipal solid waste in 2009. But this is estimated to grow to 12% by the end of 2022. That represents a lot of old electronics!

If you’re not sure what to do with your old electronics, don’t worry – Atech Recyclers explain everything, from finding an ewaste recycler to what happens to your electronics after recycling. Keep reading for more information!

Guide to Recycling Electronics

What is ewaste, and where does it come from?

Ewaste is short for electronic waste and refers to any electronic device or component that has been discarded and is no longer in use. This can include anything from old smartphones and laptops to TVs and gaming consoles.

Ewaste comes from a variety of sources. Consumers generate ewaste when they upgrade their electronic devices. Businesses create ewaste when they discard old equipment, and even governments contribute when they replace outdated technology systems.

Whatever the source, ewaste poses a significant environmental threat if not handled properly. That’s why it’s important to recycle your old electronics whenever possible!

How do we get rid of ewaste, and why is it a global problem?

Currently, we deal with ewaste in two ways:

  • by recycling ewaste into new products
  • by burning ewaste to extract metals and other materials

Both of these methods have serious drawbacks. Recycling is expensive and can be complicated to do correctly. Burning ewaste creates toxic fumes harmful to both people and the environment. That’s why we need to find better ways to deal with ewaste – and why recycling electronics is critical!

There are a few different ways to recycle electronics. You can take them to a local recycler, send them in for mail-in recycling, or drop them off at an e-cycling event.

Each method has its pros and cons, so it’s imperative to evaluate which recycling methods are effective and convenient. Local recyclers are a great option if you want to recycle a small number of items or if the recycling facility is close by. They can often handle a variety of materials, and many will accept ewaste for free. However, not all local recyclers have the ability to extract metals and other materials from electronics, so do your research first.

Mail-in recycling services are a good option if you have a large number of items to recycle or if the recycling facility is far away. These services usually charge a fee, but they often have a lower environmental impact than local recyclers. Many mail-in recyclers also offer rewards programs that give you money back for recycling ewaste.

Did you know that ewaste is one of the fastest-growing types of waste in the world?

It is a global problem because e-waste contains valuable materials that can be recycled and reused. When e-waste is dumped in landfills, the toxins it releases can leach into the soil and water supplies. Recycling e-waste helps mitigate these risks and keeps these valuable resources from being wasted.

A collaborative global solution needs to be found to prevent ewaste from getting out of control. More and more countries are struggling to deal with the influx of ewaste, and it’s becoming an increasingly pressing issue.

If this trend continues, by the end of 2022 we could be generating more than 52 million metric tonnes of ewaste each year. That’s enough waste to fill about 20 Sydney Opera Houses!

What are the effects of ewaste on the environment and human health?

Environmentally, ewaste can quickly become a problem. Toxic substances like lead, mercury, and arsenic can leach from ewaste into soil and water supplies. This can contaminate the environment and poison plants, animals, and people.

The effects of ewaste on human health are also a cause for concern. Many e-products contain harmful chemicals that can have adverse consequences if they come into contact with skin or are ingested. For example, cadmium is a toxic metal often found in electronics. It’s known to cause cancer, reproductive problems, and damage to the kidneys, lungs, and liver. It’s clear that we need to do something about ewaste – but what can we do?

How can we prevent ewaste from happening in the first place?

First, we need to be more mindful of how much electronic waste we produce. We can start by thinking more about the purchases we make – and only buying what we need.

We can also recycle our e-products properly. Many councils offer ewaste recycling services, so be sure to check with your local council to see if they offer this service. You can also take your ewaste to a recycler like Atech Recyclers. At Atech, they recycle all types of ewaste, including computers, laptops, printers, mobile phones, and tablets.

What are some solutions to the global ewaste crisis?

Various solutions have been tried, such as e-waste bans and e-waste recycling targets, but more needs to be done. Some of the solutions that have been proposed include:

  • Improving e-waste collection and recycling infrastructure globally
  • Developing global standards for e-waste management
  • Encouraging manufacturers to design products that are easier to recycle
  • Promoting sustainable consumption practices

The main issue is the exponential increase in the volume of ewaste, so more concerted and collaborative efforts are needed to address this growing crisis.

Everyone must do what they can

We can all play our part in helping to address the global ewaste crisis. By being more mindful of how much electronic waste we produce, recycling our e-products, and encouraging others to do the same, we can make a difference. Together, we can create a world where electronics are recycled and reused instead of ending up in landfills.

ewaste lifecycle

Ewaste has become a global problem, and it’s time we take action before our landfills overflow. There are several ways in which we can prevent ewaste from occurring in the first place. So try to purchase refurbished goods instead of new ones. Avoid buying products online that need to be shipped across oceans on planes full of plastics. And use green energy sources for charging devices at home and avoid having them plugged into outlets all day long.

The UK’s E-Waste Problem

There’s no doubt that the UK is in the midst of an electronic waste crisis with more than two thirds of households sitting on old phone chargers, along with other items. A study by OKdo shows exactly how big our e-waste problem is, why it’s an issue and how we can dispose of electronic items safely and responsibly.

Here we’ll take a look at the key findings and help you get clued up on what to do with your old electronic items without adding to the UK’s landfill.

e-waste crisis in united kingdom

The UK produces some of the biggest e-waste

With an average of 23.9kg of e-waste per person, the UK is one of the top e-waste producers in the world. Shockingly, during the first six months of 2021, the country produced an amount of electronic waste equivalent to 15 Eiffel Towers.

Cables seem to be a huge contributing factor with 140 million being stored in homes up and down the country. Not only this, households have up to 60 items of old electronics that are left unused in drawers and cupboards.

Why is there such a big e-waste problem?

The main issue appears to be that people simply don’t know how to recycle their old technology with 38% of people aged 45-54 having never done it and are unsure how to. The younger Millennials are more clued up with 31% knowing how to recycle their e-waste.

With electronic products increasing every year and the demand for more digital technology due to remote working, the problem of electronic waste is only going to get worse. Add to this our culture’s obsession with having the latest gadgets and brand-new phones and smart devices, and it’s not difficult to see we’re heading for a serious landfill and environmental issue.

How can we dispose of e-waste safely?

Donating to charity is one way to dispose of unused tech without clogging up landfill. Charities will often donate such technology to communities where items are needed so you’ll be helping others too.

electrical-waste-uk

There are also many company initiatives and services which encourage the recycling of old items, often rewarding you for doing so in the form of vouchers or money off a new tech device.

Council collections or recycling centres are another option if you’re looking for a local site to take your old items to. It’s worth checking your local council to make sure your device can be recycled.

By raising awareness of the e-waste problem and making sure we know how to recycle our old technology, we can contribute to a safer and greener environment and possibly help other communities along the way.