Electronic Recycling 101

In the U.S. we toss more than 100 million cell phones in the trash every year, which is a huge waste of materials that could be recycled. There are also over 112,000 computers discarded every single day in the U.S. That’s 41.1 million desktops and laptops per year. Even with the high number of technology that is thrown away, only 13% of that is recycled. When cell phones, computers, and other technological items are put into landfills they can cause air pollution, soil contamination, and can contaminate water.

Here is the process of recycling technology.

  1. Component Analysis: Iron, Gold, and other precious metals are collected for re-use. Remaining lead, mercury, and arsenic are disposed of safely. Which saves landfills from computer parts that could contaminate groundwater.
  2. Organization: Once useful and non-renewable parts have been harvested the pieces must be sorted. A shredder then reduces the computer or equipment to pieces and automatic screening techniques which find more valuable components from the trash.
  3. Safety Management: The toxic fumes and shredded particles produced from the recycling process must be caught.
  4. Security Measures: Hard drives and data storage devices can be very difficult to clean for the average consumer. Most recycling companies will promise you that they will erase your data or ensure the data storage is destroyed. This prevents your personal data from getting into the wrong hands.
  5. Donation: Many working recycled computers avoid the shredding process and return to the world as a refurbished machine. After cosmetic repairs and a memory wipe your computer it’s ready for its second life as a donated machine.

You can recycle your cellphones, digital cameras, pagers, and two-way radios at the Muncie Mission at 400 W. Memorial Drive- Muncie or take it to East Central recycling at 701 E. Centennial Ave.