Why Recycle Electronics with Eco-Cycle
Televisions and computers each contain 3-8 pounds of lead, and like most electronics, can contain a host of other toxic substances such as cadmium, mercury and arsenic. These toxic substances could contaminate groundwater when landfilled.
Why recycle electronics with Eco-Cycle?
Eco-Cycle has partnered with a Certified e-Stewards Recycler to process and recycle all electronic equipment, and is in the process of being certified as an e-Stewards collector. e-Stewards is the world's most rigorous environmental and social justice criteria for recycling e-waste. This means we will not work with processors who export hazardous electronic scrap to developing countries. After being sorted for reusable equipment, your electronic scrap (e-scrap) will be safely processed within developed countries and will also be kept out of landfills, incinerators and prison recycling operations.
Watch the "60 Minutes" segment about the illegal dumping of e-waste in developing countries.
Why is there a fee?
There is a fee for recycling most electronic items. All items must be disassembled before they can be recycled, a labor-intensive process that often requires handling toxic substances. The funds are also used to offset the cost of collection, storage and marketing of the materials.
"Free" recycling events usually have a hidden, and toxic, price. On Nov. 9, 2008, "60 Minutes" featured a segment about a Denver recycler that illegally shipped containers full of electronic scrap to a small village in China after collecting the materials at numerous "free" recycling events. The items and their toxic components (lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, PVC, etc.) were being dismantled in horrific conditions, poisoning the town's water supply, scarring the workers and filling their lungs with toxic fumes. Watch the video (right) and read about BAN's e-Steward's Initiative and find out if your recycler is a true "e-Steward."
Will the public always have to pay for recycling materials like this?
Not if we can help it. In other countries, manufacturers (including U.S. multinationals) are required to pay for recycling their toxic product rather than putting that burden on customers, government or non-profits.
Eco-Cycle is part of a coalition working to create similar "take-back" programs in the U.S. If U.S. companies participate in Take-Back programs abroad, why not here? Until businesses begin to design products for recycling and disassembly and offer free "take-back" programs, recyclers like you, local governments like the City of Boulder, and nonprofits like Eco-Cycle will continue to bear the cost of doing the right thing.
Watch the Story of Electronics to learn more about how electronics manufacturers need to take greater responsibility for the recovery and greener design of their products.