Four Things You Need To Know About E-Waste Recycling

Electronic product life spans have become shorter. On average, consumers replace their computers every five years. Smartphones are replaced within two years, and home appliances are replaced once every seven years, creating a need for e-waste recycling.

Despite the prevalence of electronic products, only a small percentage of e-waste gets recycled, leading to increased environmental damage and pollution.

In this article, we will explore four things you need to know about electronic waste and e-waste recycling before you decide to get rid of old electronic devices.

What is E-Waste?

Electronic waste or e-waste refers to electronic devices that people no longer use. These devices have reached the end of their life and no longer work as they were intended.

Common examples of e-waste include computers and computer components such as keyboards, smartphones, microwaves, televisions, radios, printers, monitors, and electronic toys.

Some of these electronic products contain materials that make them hazardous to the environment. For instance, old CRTs (cathode ray tubes) from televisions and monitors are hazardous to the environment.

Some hand-held devices, mobile phones, and computer parts do contain valuable materials and substances such as gold, silver, copper, lead, and nickel that can be harvested, but they also contain hazardous material such as cadmium, mercury, and sulfur, which require special disposal.

Why Should You Recycle or Repair Your Electronics?

According to The Environmental Protection Agency, US consumers and businesses discard 2.37 million tons of electronic waste every year. Only 25% of discarded electronics end up getting recycled. The rest gets disposed in landfills and incinerators, and illegally exported to developing countries.

Recycling your electronics not only protects the environment from toxic waste, but it also protects people from getting exposed to high levels of contaminants such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic.

These toxic elements can lead to irreversible health effects, including cancers, miscarriages, neurological damage and diminished IQs.

What Can You Do with E-Waste?

Circuit boards typically use gold. Connective wires use copper, and soldering uses silver. When these electronic devices are properly recycled, you can sell these precious metals for a profit and use them to create something completely new.

For example, cell phone batteries can be used to make new smartphones and batteries, while zinc and aluminum from laptops and tablets can be used for metal plates, jewelry, cars or art.

Where are Electronics Recycled?

The best way to get your electronics recycled is to work with a licensed electronics recycling company. There are two standards for recycling electronics in the United States. Each standard has certification programs that the recycler has to go through and maintain.

The first standard is known as the e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling, and Reuse of Electronic Equipment, or e-Stewards for short, and the other is called Responsible Recycling (R2) Practices, or R2.

It’s a good sign if an electronics recycler has either one of these certifications. In most cases, they will be more trustworthy than a recycler without one.

Securis has been an R2 certified electronics recycler since 2013 and joined the GSA Schedule 36 of approved contractors to provide data destruction services to the United States Government in 2007.

Our industry experience, combined with our unique expertise in e-waste recycling makes an ideal partner for your electronics waste needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Why Millions of CRT Screens Never Get Recycled

Although CRT TV’s and monitors have become a thing of the past for most consumers, there are still many stockpiles of CRT monitors littered across the US. One particular stockpile, from an e-scrap company known as Recycletronics, recently came under scrutiny by the U.S. EPA and led state regulators to suspend the company’s license to accept CRTs.

During a 2015 inspection, Recycletronics’ CRT stockpile filled nearly 100 corrugated pallet boxes in an outside storage area behind their warehouse. The EPA cited the company for “failing to minimize the possibility of release” of hazardous material at that location.

The company was subsequently evicted from its Iowa location in 2015 and the company’s owner, Aaron Rochester, was sued in January 2016 for breaching the company’s lease and using more property for CRT glass storage than its lease allowed for.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality also confirmed that Recycletronics was previously sending its crushed CRT glass to Closed Loop Refining and Recovery in Arizona. Closed Loop closed in 2016, leaving tens of millions of pounds of leaded CRT glass at their Arizona and Ohio sites.

The former executives Closed Loop Refining and Recovery were ordered to pay more than $18 million for breaking the lease at their Columbus, Ohio headquarters and leaving behind more than 100 million pounds of CRT glass.

“Closed Loop was not engaged in legitimate CRT recycling operations at the properties but was instead engaged in the speculative accumulation and subsequent abandonment and disposal of the CRT waste at the properties without any feasible means of recycling it,” Judge Holbrook wrote in his Aug. 7 judgment.

CRT Glass Remains Outdoors

Despite all their troubles, Recycletronics hasn’t closed down. The company currently operates out of a new location in Sioux City, and are actively trying to work on their stockpile. The EPA won’t renew their CRT permit until they comply with state and federal regulations. According to Rochester, authorities have seized documents and copied information from computer hard drives and requested more information about their CRT stockpile.

The stockpile of hazardous CRT screens currently remains in a field, directly affects the environment. In the case of Closed Loop, which had five locations across Arizona and Ohio, there are also whole units of CRT monitors taking up lots of space. The total weight of abandoned CRT glass held by Recycletronics is uncertain, but for Closed Loop, figures are massive – around 250 million pounds.

Make sure your CRT Screens are correctly recycled

If you want to dispose of your CRT screens the right way, you have to find a well-established electronics recycling firm to help you out. Only a company with a proven history of following best practices can assure your scrap will not end up abandoned in an open field somewhere.

Securis can help you get rid of your CRT waste properly and protect your company from hefty fines. Contact us today to learn more about our services for recycling CRT monitors and other electronic waste. We hold certifications from R2, NAID, and the Defense Logistics Agency, and have a team of experts to ensure your electronics are disposed using industry best practices and processes.