A helpful how-to guide for keeping your computers, cell phones and other used electronics out of landfills.
Our increased reliance on personal technology—laptops, cell phones, PDAs, computer monitors, printers--has resulted in vast quantities of garbage in landfills and incinerators that could have been reused or recycled. About 2.6 million tons of e-waste ended up in landfills in 2007, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, while only 13.6 percent (408,000 tons) was recycled. If Americans recycled the more than 100 million cell phones that are no longer used,the amount of energy saved would be enough to power approximately 24,000 U.S. households for one year.
Some of the materials in personal electronics, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, are hazardous and can release dangerous toxins into our air and water when burned or deposited in landfills improperly. And throwing away metal components, like the copper, gold, silver and palladium in cell phones and other electronics, leads to needless mining for new metals.
Fortunately, there is a solution: returning your used electronics for responsible recycling, rather than throwing them in the trash.
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