Don’t trash those electronics!

April 30, 2013

The special case of e-waste

Not long after the age of computers came the age of e-waste: unneeded, broken or obsolete electronics.  It’s noxious stuff, typically containing toxic materials like lead, mercury, arsenic and chromium.  And we generate an awful lot of it: as much as 50 million tonnes every year, according to the UN.  (In particular, the global transition to flat-screen monitors and televisions has produced a big bump in the amount of e-waste generated.)

It’s very important to keep e-waste out of our landfills where it can cause long-term contamination of the surrounding environment – so here are some options:

  1. Reduce, by buying less stuff and by using electronics until they wear out instead of upgrading frequently.
  2. Reuse, by donating your electronics for refurbishment or salvaging of useful parts; in Canada, check out Computers for Schools
  3. Recycle all electronics, to keep their toxins out of the environment.  Click here for programs in New Brunswick; here for programs elsewhere in Canada; and here for the US.

And – you can use Greenpeace’s annual Guide to Greener Electronics to help you choose greener electronics brands.

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