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Why you should recycle your electronics

In an ideal world we wouldn’t even need to think about publishing a piece like this and everyone would just do it of their own accord but we’re realists and understand that we’re not likely to be at that stage for quite some time – if ever. So, we figured we would throw together a list of reasons that may inspire a few more people to make sure that they recycle their electronics by whatever means available to them.

 

All that metal is salvageable

That’s not even an exaggeration. Modern day gadgets are full of materials that can be salvaged and reused if they are handled properly. That doesn’t mean that you just drop it into any old recycling box and hope for the best; electronic gadgets should be handled by experts. Although there are a plethora of great resources in that Samsung Galaxy s5 of yours, there is also an awful lot of harmful chemicals and other nasty stuff. If they’re not treated with the utmost respect, they can become a real hazard. A typical smartphone contains;

  • Copper

  • Silver

  • Gold

  • Palladium

  • Stainless steel

Not bad for such a little device, huh? All of those metals can be reused in brand new devices that will be in the shops in 6-12 months time.

 

E-waste is becoming a huge problem

We’re dumping around 49 million tons of e-waste (electronic waste) into landfills across the globe every single year. The UK is actually the 4th worst country in the world for electronic waste disposal – despite our best efforts. Don’t believe us? See for yourself:

 

Rank

Country

Total E-Waste (tons per year)

E-Waste per Capita (kg)

1

United States of America

9,400,000

29.8

2

Australia

600,000

25.2

3

Germany

1,900,000

23.2

4

England

1,400,000

21.8

5

Japan

2,700,000

21.5

 

It’s sad to think that it’s all so easily avoidable but that’s the current state of e-waste. We think that if people understand the real dangers of e-waste, they’d be a lot more inclined to do something about it, so help us spread the word.

 

Mercury and lethal emissions galore

Mercury can be a real pain in the backside. If you’re exposed to the stuff for extended periods of time then you could quickly find yourself with chest pains, high blood pressure, heart disease and deteriorating eyesight. If it gets into your bloodstream then you’re really in trouble. Mercury poisoning is definitely not something you want to endure.

Just incase that wasn’t bad enough, when you send an electrical device to landfill it will usually be incinerated. This leads to the area local to the site being surrounded in a cloud of Sulphur Dioxide and acidic fumes. All of this leads to a variety of nasty illnesses, including Leukemia.

 

What happens to the unrecyclable e-waste?

 

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The large majority of electronic waste in western Europe and the United States is sent to developing nations for disposal. In some of these countries there are is little to no legislation regarding the management of electronic waste, so a few unethical companies who are purely focused on profit margins do end up placing the waste within landfill. However, that is an exception to the rule. A lot of companies, like Bozowi, will only use organisations that have a proven track record of acting responsibly and completing the job in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

What’s the best solution for all of this?

The WEEE directive suggests that “reuse” is up to 20x greener than recycling, which is why we have an in-house team of engineers who work around the clock to refurbish goods, so they can be passed onto new owners – extending their life, rather than bringing it to an end.


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