Apple has launched the iPhone 5 with a bigger screen, a better processor, and lots of cool features. If the pre-order figures of the phone are anything to go by, the company will sell millions of units in the next few months. But what will happen to the old phones that we already have? Well, if we dump our old phones in garbage, we’ll just add to the already huge amount of e-waste that’s getting piled up in the landfills. According to an e-waste survey conducted by iYogi, 28% of the respondents have junked their old PC at least once. This would have probably ended up in a landfill, which would cause environmental pollution.
In case you are looking to buy a new smartphone or any other electronic product such as a laptop or a tablet, don’t bin your old devices. Recycle them. Yes, that’s what you should do to dispose of your electronics in an environment friendly way. Here are 10 reasons why you should not throw away your old electronic products:
1. E-waste is hazardous to the environment
Most of the electronic devices we use contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. Each year, we dump around 384 million units of old electronics in the US alone. This accounts for over 2 million tons of e-waste in landfills across the country. Although, it is just 2 percent of the total landfill waste in the U.S., it contributes more than 70 percent of the toxic substances in the landfills. Exposure to these toxic materials through air, soil, drinking water, etc., can be dangerous to the health of humans and animals.
2. It’s illegal to dump e-waste
Many U.S. states such as California, Illinois, and New York have banned the dumping of computers and electronics in landfills. The states have designated recycling centers where you can give your devices for safe disposal. So, don’t throw away your old electronics in trash. Check for the recyclers in your region and e-recycle the right way.
3. E-waste is exported to the developing countries
A lot of e-waste that is generated is exported to developing countries. In the absence of proper recycling facilities in those areas, the e-waste pollutes the environment and affects human health. Global e-waste dumping is a matter of serious concern and laws have been passed to prohibit this practice. For example, the Basel Convention regulates the transfer of e-waste from the developed countries to the developing countries.
4. Old electronics can be reused by the needy
If your old PC or smartphone is in a working condition, donate it to a charitable organization. There are quite a few charitable institutions such as Computers With Causes that run computer donation programs in the United States. These organizations repair the devices and provide them to the needy.
5. Conserve natural resources
Recycling of e-waste ensures that materials such as copper, aluminum, and iron are recovered and reused. The raw materials can be used by the recyclers to manufacture various products. Thus, e-recycling helps to conserve the natural resources.
6. Save energy
Electronics recycling not only results in the conservation of natural resources, it also helps to save energy and reduce costs. It’s much more energy efficient to recycle the e-waste and recover the components as compared to the mining and processing of fresh materials. For example, the recycling of steel will consume 60% less energy than the production of fresh steel.
7. Recycling helps to create jobs
The e-recycling centers help to create jobs as lots of people are involved in refurbishing and recycling the old electronics. This reduces unemployment and provides a means to the poor people to earn money. So, think again the next time you dump your old PC.
8. Prevent information theft
Dumping your old computer in trash, makes it vulnerable to data theft. Criminals can restore the data that you had saved on the hard disk and use it for their benefit. The e-recyclers completely destroy the data before your device is reused. Thus, it helps in protecting confidential information from leaking.
9. Get tax benefits
You are entitled to tax benefits if you donate your old electronics to charitable organizations. Besides this, you also promote a noble cause by giving your devices to people who are in need of them. So, help save the environment and get tax deductions for your donations.
10. Earn discount coupons or gift cards
Many manufacturers buy back their old products and provide discount coupons in exchange for them. The fair market value of your device is evaluated and customers are provided discounts or gift cards. These discount coupons can be used to buy new products.
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About Mohit Gupta
Legend has it that no deadline ever managed to slip by Mohit without being slashed to bits first (with time still remaining). When we writers are done with our writing business, Mohit takes out his surgical gloves and dissects the pieces for language inconsistency. His red lines make us roll, cringe and revolt. But on and off, he writes this occasional brilliant piece which makes us brood in envious silence.