From: Allison Winter, ENN
Published September 27, 2012 01:55 PM

Recycling vs. Convenience: What Are You Doing With Your E-Waste?

We all have managed to stockpile an old computer or two, maybe a couple of corded phones or even a two hundred pound TV set from 1985 that you simply don’t know what to do with. As your electronic waste, or e-waste accumulates in your garage collecting dust you decide it’s finally time to take action. You can either take everything to your local recycling facility, which is half an hour away and only open for two hours on the first Saturday of the month or you can throw the pieces out with your trash.


You know throwing the e-waste away is not the proper way to dispose of your outdated technology, but the convenient solution would be to cross your fingers and hope the garbage truck takes the pieces one by one.

Even though awareness about electronics recycling and available recycling locations is increasing, according to a study released from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), consumers still say convenience is a determining factor as to whether or not they recycle their electronic waste.

According to the CE Recycling and Reuse 2012 Edition study, six in ten consumer electronic owners removed at least one device from their homes in the last year, with 48% donating the device for reuse and 26% choosing to recycle. The other twelve percent put their electronic devices in the trash citing that it was the most convenient option. Convenience can take into account time, resources, and cost, which plays heavily on how consumers decide to get rid of waste.

While programs at individual companies and retailers are trying to make it easier for consumers to recycle their products, it is still left up to the consumer to make the final decision of how to dispose of their unwanted materials.

The study also revealed that nine in ten consumers believe it's important to recycle their electronic devices and 63% of consumers know where to recycle them. This is very promising as to the future of how we handle our e-waste.

Walter Alcorn, vice president of CEA's environmental affairs and industry sustainability department stated: "The marked increase in consumer awareness of how and where to recycle their electronics illustrates the progress our industry has made on this issue."

While there have been some concerns as to what really happens to e-waste once it is taken to a facility, most of the products can be resold or dismantled for parts. Regardless of what happens next, this option is better than throwing e-waste away with your regular trash where the products have the potential to leach heavy metals into landfills and incinerator ash.

As technology continues to change and we become increasing dependent on our electronic devices, e-waste will only continue to grow. That's why it is important to start making a better effort to get your e-waste to an accredited recycling facility and start recycling now!

Read more at The Green Economy

E-waste image via Shutterstock. 

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