Mother’s Day is just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to show love to our mothers and to our Mother Earth. Our planet is our home, and it provides us with everything we need to survive and thrive. Six of the earth’s natural resources represent the foundation of our existence. Our daily life as we know it relies on water, air, oil, natural gas and minerals. The things we depend on for sustenance and survival come from one of these six. Yet these resources are finite and non-renewable. We cannot continue to consume them at our current pace. Last year, humanity consumed the biological resources that the earth regenerates in a year within seven months. We reached “Earth Overshoot Day” on 7/28/22.
The “Seventh Resource” represents resources that until now we have considered waste: recyclables. Reimagining waste as a resource is the foundation of a circular economy. According to research by Accenture turning waste into wealth could unlock an additional $4.5 trillion in additional economic growth by 2030.
Over the past half century, the extraction of minerals has tripled globally. The extraction and and processing of natural resources accounts for over 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress and about 50% of climate change impacts. Governments and businesses must adopt a circular – or resource efficient – economy approach and strengthen management of raw materials.
The Importance of Refurbishing and Recycling Electronics
Refurbishing and recycling electronics plays a critical role in the circular economy. The increasing use of electronics and the constant demand for new gadgets puts a significant strain on these finite resources. The production of more than 200 consumer products, including cell phones and hard drives, uses a set of 17 different metallic elements. It takes 3.7 pounds of fossil fuels and other chemicals and 70.5 pounds of water to produce a single 2-gram microchip!
Global e-waste generation is growing due to higher consumption rates of electronics, shorter product lifecycles and limited repair options. Discarded electronic devices such as smartphones, laptops, and TVs contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, and cadmium that can harm our environment and health. When we do not dispose of these devices properly, they can end up in landfills or incinerators, polluting the air and water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that electronics are responsible for 70% of the toxic waste in landfills.
Electronics refurbishing is not the same as “reused.” Refurbished devices are thoroughly vetted inspected, tested and repaired to like-new or better-than-new condition. Devices that are damaged beyond repair or are too old will be dismantled for parts when possible. If that is not feasible, they are rudimentarily sorted into their components of glass, metal or plastic and recycled as scrap.
Are You a Business or Organization with Surplus or Obsolete Electronics?
Contact Us! Electronics Value Recovery is a trusted asset disposal partner for many businesses and organizations in the mid-Atlantic region. Each device that potentially contains data is individually checked in and sent for testing for possible reuse, parts harvesting or recycling. Devices with data are wiped for reuse or shred for scrap recycling. Those which can’t be refurbished are harvested for parts and those which no longer have useful parts are recycled.
Are You an Individual or Do You Have a Small Quantity of Electronics?
Most Maryland county drop off sites only accept residential appliances and electronics. The Maryland Department of the Environment’s website contains useful information on what is acceptable and where to drop off. Be sure to call and confirm hours as some have changed since the pandemic.
Another suggestion is to google “Electronics Recycling Near Me” and “Community Electronics Collection,” particularly now. Many communities hold these events in conjunction with shred events that are frequently held in the spring and in the fall.
Before recycling your electronic devices, make sure to remove all personal data such as photos, documents, and passwords. Check the manufacturer’s website for “how to” because there’s often more to it than just hitting “delete.”
Electronics refurbishing and recycling are crucial steps towards preserving our planet and protecting it for future generations. This Mother’s Day, let’s show our love for our Mother Earth by responsibly disposing of our electronics and purchasing refurbished when possible. By making small changes in our daily lives, we can all contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world.