The tech industry is making strides in creating new methods of recycling old electronics to create new ones.
When we initially think of recycling, soda cans and plastic bottles are what come to mind first. Yet recycling encompasses much more than those common materials. With new high-tech gadgets arriving and quickly outdating old ones, you may find that the monitor or hard drive you have in your house is just collecting dust and could be put to better use by being repurposed or deconstructed to be part of a brand-new product.
In order to curb the amount of high-tech waste that’s being generated, the tech industry is making strides in creating new means of recycling old electronics to create new ones.
Two years: When it comes to a laptop or smartphone, that’s the average life span. If you consider the amount of devices being used out there, we’re talking about a huge amount of electronics that will eventually be replaced. Letting all these computers, printers and DVD players end up in a landfill would be a gigantic waste. In some communities, it’s actually illegal to throw away old computer gear or electronics, but this isn’t true everywhere.
In fact, according to Time magazine, only 20 percent of Americans recycled their old electronics in 2009, leaving a tremendous amount of waste going to landfills, where toxic chemicals spread into the ecosystem.
The clean tech industry is gaining momentum, and 2014 is now being predicted as when this effort will reach a new level of maturity and acceptance. Certain businesses are already using established factory-style processes normally used in production for their recycling processes.
The U.K.-based Sims Recycling Solutions has gained attention for its innovative approaches. It’s known for being the world’s largest e-cycling business, and at its recycling center outside of Toronto, an auto-feed system has been designed in this factory-like system in which conveyor belts transport shredded materials for sorting into different groups. Memory cards, motherboards and USB cords all wind up being shredded, and even the dust and debris are gathered for reuse.
E-cycling can be described as a triple win: You’re helping the environment, the local economy and the tech industry. You’re also getting any dinosaur technology out of your house or business once and for all, and probably improving what you’re used to when it comes to speed and access.
This kind of e-cycling will likely become a standard in the years to come as portable technology grows in popularity around the world. The economic benefits go hand in hand with the environmental ones, and with the rapid innovations taking place in the tech field, it’s inevitable that devices will be quickly replaced.
If you’ve got a fax machine or a television that dates back to the Clinton administration, you’ve probably got a good reason to upgrade to something that’s in step with the current year, but don’t let your old stuff end up on the scrap heap. Finding all you need to know is only an online search away, and you can find a local organization that will help you get your recycling efforts underway.