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Posted Oct 27th, 2016

Guess He Shouldn’t Have Bought that Samsung Note 7

Each fall, one of the guys here in our office is like a little kid on Christmas morning. His excitement isn’t because he’s once again able to get Pumpkin Spice Lattes or wear his favorite cardigan, it’s for the release of the latest technology. Fall’s become the time when we sit on the edge of our seats waiting for the newest Samsung, LG, or Apple device.

Even though our new iPhone might not have its promised headphone jack, we don’t really mind because we have our hands on the best phone before all of our friends do. Often, people get so caught up in wanting the latest technology that they forget about their obsolete devices. Out of site, out of mind, and all that. But is it okay to toss a Samsung Note 7 in the trash after it caught on fire? What about handing in our iPhone 6S in a swap program to get a reduced price on the iPhone 8? What really happens to these devices? 

Only 18% of all the electronic devices will be recycled this year. That means out of the 2.5 Million Samsung Note 7s that were manufactured, a little over 2 million will end up in a landfill, wooded area, or the nearest stream. When considering the devices contain lithium Ion batteries and carcinogens released from the phones that caught on fire, the negative impact they’ve had on our environment is astronomical.

If we factor in all of the other electronics devices that aren’t being properly disposed of, we’re talking about hundreds of millions of pounds of electronics going into dumps eachyear. When it comes to recycling obsolete electronics, people should be ashamed. How can we care so little about what happens to these devices once we have no more use for them? 

How do we get rid of our old devices while being responsible citizens of the world? Phones contain lead, cadmium, chlorine and many more harmful toxins that negatively impact our environment. It can be hard to see how one device can have such an effect on our ecosystem, but when you look at the earlier example of the Samsung note 7 and how there’s a probability that 2 million of those devices will not be properly recycled, you can see how quickly this can add up.

What can we do to make sure our old phones aren’t ending up in landfills or ditches?

We can start by making sure we dispose of them through a certified recycler. You might be asking yourself “how is someone certified?” and this is a great question! There are two main regulatory bodies in the electronic recycling industry called E-Stwards and R2. The next time you turn your phone in at Best Buy or give it to a recycler, check to make sure they have one of these certifications so you know your phone won’t end up in a landfill. Spring isn’t the only time to be green – this fall make sure you properly dispose of your half charred Samsung s8 Note 7.


Guest blogpost written by Michael Stegeman of Securis

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