How many cell phones have you had over the years? Some of us upgrade yearly, even bi-yearly. Have you ever wondered where your old cell phone goes?
Recycling technology is an important but often forgotten topic in this digital age. Electrical devices should never go into your local landfill; they contain toxic, hazardous waste. In most states across the US, it is illegal to dispose of electronics in the trash. Why?
Most electrical devices contain metals such as aluminum, copper, and sometimes gold. Aluminum is usually used for the structure of these electrical devices because it is strong and lightweight. Copper and gold are used for their conductivity and resistance to corrosion when housed correctly.
There are also toxic elements and materials like sulfur, mercury, lead, chromium, beryllium oxide, cadmium. That’s why you can’t send computer monitors off to the local landfill.
With the ever-growing amount of electrical devices, procedures for e-waste disposal haven’t gotten smoothed out yet. Consumers aren’t even aware of all the devices that are unsafe to send to the landfill. When devices are crushed at the landfill, toxic chemicals and materials become exposed, making it easier for them to contaminate the environment.
Electrical devices need to be disassembled for safe disposal and should be sent to specialized processing plants. Deconstructing these products is a dangerous task, usually done manually. In countries where child recyclers comb the dumps for carcinogenic electronic trash to recycle, people are often badly injured.
When a fatal flaw appears in a device, manufactures recall it. When the Samsung Note 7 began overheating and exploding, the manufacturer recalled it. However, the problem batteries, notorious for short-circuiting, were still being used in a variety of products. These devices required manual disassembling as well.
Workers at the recycling plant who are in charge of disassembling these potentially dangerous devices are equipped with heavy-duty gloves, tongs, and even fire containment bins. These are not the AA batteries you change every few months in your TV remote; they are lithium-ion batteries, containing thousands of connected cells. They have an incredible amount of potential energy and can be very destructive.
New battery technology allows us to have longer-lasting, more powerful devices. Not just smartphones, but battery-powered lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and amazing new toys; these electrical devices need to be handled responsibly.
All devices should be handled properly when their product life has expired. You don’t know what toxic material is lurking in your device, and when dealing with potential carcinogens and heavy metals, you want to be safe.
If the time has come to replace office devices, Quikteks can help. Our professionals know how to dispose of your devices safely and responsibly, without risking critical data. Call (973) 882-4644 to learn more.
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