Every year, Americans upgrade their computers, displays, servers, TV's, phones, and more, which leaves them with more than 2.2 million pounds of unwanted electronics. These contain several valuable or toxic elements, making electronics wasteful and hazardous to just incinerate or dump in a landfill along with your regular trash.
Naturally, almost every state has passed legislation controlling the disposal of electronics. In fact, , Connecticut made it illegal not to recycle e-waste.
By recycling, your unwanted electronics are broken down into raw materials, which are then reused. It's likely that your computer used to be a car door, or your printer is made of old cell phones.
Vectro ensures that every computer, CD, cord, and cable that we remove from your offices are either reused or recycled, at no extra cost to you. It's just one of the perks of having us around.
Recycled electronics are taken apart and broken down by physical and chemical means to recover silicon, plastic, fiberglass, copper, aluminum, iron, zinc, silver, gold, and more. Once separated and melted down, these newly-raw materials are sent to manufacturers and used to make new products.
In addition, hazardous materials such as lead, sulfur, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, barium, BFR's, and more are recovered, and if they can't be reused, are sent to facilities that can ensure their safe and responsible disposal.
Who handles this e-waste?
Since , Connecticut municipalities have been legally required to accept e-waste. The state's e-waste recycling program is operated by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
The DEEP has authorized several e-waste processing companies to handle the recycling process. Many of these companies attempt to process most or all of these items here in America, rather than dump it overseas — making this good for the environment and economy.
What about my storage media?
If we cannot securely erase and reuse a hard drive or backup tape, then we physically destroy it before recycling it. Defective hard drives meet our power drill, and tapes have a date with a few magnets.
On top of this, all e-waste processors are required by law to secure hard drives before they are shredded or smelted.
Since , Vectro has saved 2,187 pounds of e-waste from rotting away in a landfill.
How toxic is it?
Manufacturers and governments are making strides to keep hazardous materials out of new electronics, but your old ones may contain many deadly things. Did you know that…
- just one of those old CRT screens can contain 6-10 pounds of lead?
- LCD screens, thermostats, and even doorbells, all contain mercury?
- some glass may contain arsenic, the main ingredient in rat poison?
- UPS batteries contain lead and sulfur?
- laptop batteries contain some explosive combination of lithium, nickel, and cadmium?
- chips and resistors usually contain a bit of cadmium?
- some circuit boards contain lead, PCB's, and BFR's?
- while smoke alarms protect you from fires, they contain americium, a radioactive carcinogen?