What is e-waste?
E-waste is the name given to old, obsolete, unwanted, broken, malfunctioning discarded electronic items. The list of items that are considered e-waste is numerous,and it is easiest to consider all items that run on a battery or power cord devices that when disposed of would be called e-waste. Vacuum cleaners for example are considered solid waste and are to be disposed of in the regular garbage. This classification may change, check with your local e-waste recycling center to find more information on what is considered electronic waste.
Electronics are made of various materials, some of these materials are toxic, and others are reusable. When broken down and separated these materials can be reused, eliminating waste and preserving valuable natural resources. Recycling electronic items is the best way to keep the toxic materials, and heavy metals from land fills, which prevents these toxins from leaching into the soil. The chemicals are called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and have been found in air, water, and soil throught the world.
In poor countries people risk there lives, and overall well being to extract precious metals from discarded electronics. People go as far as to burn electronics, and then filter through the ash to collect anything of value. The collected materials may provide thier food for the day. Taking away ones ability to feed themselves may seem cruel, but it really is best for everyone. The world needs to take a long term world view and put a stop to illegal dumping of e-waste on poor countries.
E-waste facilities are available at just about any landfill or dump site located in California. There are usually seasonal periods where even more types of harmful waste can be recycled properly free of charge. Not all electronic items are considered electronic waste.
However, not all e-waste facilities are free. The fees for most of these services are paid for with the purchase of new televisions and other electronics. Contact your local electronic waste facility for more information.
Donating your items
If your electronic item still has resale value, or is still fully functional, consider donating it, or giving it away to a friend. Before you decide to donate or give your PC away to someone take a moment and consider why it is being replaced. If it was unstable or it did not seem to run right then it may be better to dispose of it at an electronic waste facility.
At pcmd we feel if it is going to cost money to fix, or if it is really old, then it should be disposed of properly at an e-waste facility. Computers become unreliable and have limited use life spans regardless if they still work. However, you are free to do as your choose, we just ask that you help keep e-waste out of land fills.
EPA estimates state that in 2007 over 112,000 computers were recycled daily in the U.S.A.
In 2009, discarded TVs, computers, peripherals (including printers, scanners, fax machines) mice, keyboards, and cell phones totaled about 2.37 million short tons or 4,740,000,000 lbs.
Estimates for 2019 world wide electronic waste disposal is over 50 millon tons or 100 billion pounds.