Electronic waste, or e-waste, consists of circuit boards, computer monitors, laptops, hard drives, printers, DVD players, and televisions, whether they are cathode ray, LCD, or plasma. E-waste is highly toxic and seldom disposed of properly. However scrap circuit board buyers and electronics waste recyclers can perform this valuable environmental service properly. Every year, America generates up to 400 million pieces of electronic waste, and recycles less than 20% of it. E-waste constitutes 2% of the trash in U.S. landfills, yet it makes up 70% of the total toxic waste, which is harmful to the health of the human central nervous system, blood, and kidneys, not to mention the health of animals, waterways, and the underlying soil. Mercury used in electronic components has been shown to cause a host of medical problems including asthma, diabetes, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, and a range of skin disorders.
Only 10% of the 50 million cell phones replaced each month are recycled. Recycling only 1 million of those phones would garner greenhouse gas reductions equal to taking 1,368 cars off the road for one year. E-waste was banned from landfills in the European Union in the ‘90s, and manufacturers have been held responsible for its disposal by law ever since. Lax environmental and labor regulations make Asia, specifically China and India, attractive dumping grounds for global e-waste, with 80% of American e-waste exported there to avoid costly disposal stateside. Many Americans stockpile old electronics in garages, attics, and storage units when they buy newer gadgets with more features. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 75% of computers sold in America sit in storage, awaiting disposal.
There are multiple ways people dispose of e-waste, though not all of them are legal or eco-friendly. Regulations differ from state to state, but typically, throwing electronics out with the regular trash is illegal, as is tossing them in random dumpsters. Do not incinerate electronics, as this releases toxic substances into the atmosphere. If you get caught doing this, fines can be steep. In California, fines can go up to $25,000 depending upon where the toxic material is dumped. Re-selling electronic goods via Craigslist is often popular, but can be difficult if the good is older and has less functionality. A great option for still making some cash, when electronics no longer have appeal on the secondary market, is to sell the circuit boards to e-scrap buyers, who can then recycle the components for reuse. Cashforelectronicscrap.com is the leading and most trusted buyer of e-waste in the market, with parent company CJ Environmental having been in the precious metals reclamation business for almost 40 years. If more people dispose of these toxic goods in this way, they can make money and be environmentally friendly. It’s a win-win.