An implication of the first law of thermodynamics is that matter can neither be created, nor destroyed, only changed in form. This means that everything you currently own has always existed and will always exist, in one form or another. In the case of your electronic devices, then, this principle necessitates a thoughtful and responsible approach to disposing of your electronics when they’ve reached the end of their useful life.
To be sure, the tendency is toward a higher and higher number of electronic devices in use at any time. Even if you only consider internet-connected devices, the average person now has more than three devices at any given time, not to mention other devices that aren’t connected to the internet. None of these devices will be useful and relevant forever, meaning that they have to end up somewhere. Fortunately, there are great ways to manage your electronics when it’s time to upgrade to the latest and best model.
Without a doubt, recycling your old electronics is a great way to prevent them from going to a landfill. Before you take that step, however, it’s important to consider if there are other options to give your old electronics new life. One option is to try and sell your old electronics to another interested party.
There are many reasons why people would want to buy old, even obsolete, electronics, so by offering them for sale, you’re helping to fill a need for someone else while you gain a little extra cash. Apple products, among others, do really well at holding their value, meaning your old electronics may be worth more than you think.
If you don’t want to or can’t sell your old electronics, you may try repurposing them yourself. There are plans which exist to make fish tanks out of old computers, rope out of old cables, and robots out of old cell phones. If you get creative, you can find plenty of new uses for your old electronics, preventing them from entering the landfill.
The End of the Line
Of course, there comes a time when all the useful life has been squeezed out of a particular device, whether an Apple iPhone, a Sony Walkman, or a JVC VCR. Perhaps it is too hard to break down without specialized tools, preventing you from using it for another purpose. Or, perhaps you have been able to use it for another purpose and that purpose has concluded, resulting in well-worn electronic components. No matter the case, when it comes to dispose of your old electronic devices, recycling is the only option you should consider.
Remember the quote from the beginning that said, “matter can neither be created, nor destroyed”? This principle means that any electronics you send to the landfill will remain there forever. However, just because they stay in the same place doesn’t mean they remain in the same form. As casings are broken and begin to deteriorate, the components that make up your electronic devices are exposed. These components are made from various compounds, many of which are harmful if released into the environment. So, as time passes, more and more chemicals are leached into the ground and water, putting wildlife and humans at risk.
When you choose to recycle, however, these toxic compounds stay out of landfills, greatly reducing any chance of them entering the environment. The best way to assure this outcome is to choose an electronics recycling company that practices safe and responsible recycling methods. In other words, you don’t want to choose a company that simply sends the devices overseas, where there’s fewer environmental regulations. Instead, you want to choose a company that will break down the devices themselves, then work to responsibly renew the materials that remain.
Responsible electronics recycling is a process that everyone needs to participate in for the process to be successful. Without everyone’s participation, the cumulative effects of releasing toxic chemicals into the environment will have devastating effects for future generations. Leave your world a better place and seek to responsibly recycle all of your electronic devices.