Electronic waste, commonly referred to as e-waste, is any electronic device that has been discarded by its former user. When possible, it is best to refurbish electronics for reuse. However, obsolete or non-repairable devices need to be recycled responsibly.
The most common electronics included in recycling programs include:
- Monitors (with CRT glass)
- Monitors (flat screens)
- Printers, copiers, fax, scanners
- Electronic readers and notebooks
- DVD and VCR players
- Video game consoles
- MP3 players
- Mobile phones
- Peripherals (keyboards, mice, cords etc…)
Unfortunately, most of our old electronic equipment contains hazardous substances by design, so e-waste is hazardous waste. These toxic substances include: lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium, as well as brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Many of these toxins have long-term effects such as causing cancer or DNA damage. It's vital its disposal is conducted with great care.
Further, all electronics contain finite resources that consume a lot of energy when mined, refined and manufactured. Resources such as: petroleum-based plastics, copper, aluminum, gold, and rare earth minerals. Therefore, all electronics should be recycled versus placed in trash bins.
Finally, e-waste also contains our personal data including: our mail, photos, passwords, bank and social security numbers. When you let go of your electronics that data goes with it putting you at risk for crimes like identity theft, blackmail or forgery.