RECYCLED ELECTRONICS

With the amount of electronics most people have in their homes, it is important to know about e-waste.  When I look around my home I see several televisions, DVD player, computers, printer, cell phones, gaming systems, clock radio, surge protectors, external hard drive, cordless phone, microwave, digital cameras, etc.  Most people know that electronic waste is bad for the environment, but what happens to our old computers, cell phones and televisions when they are recycled?

Unlike aluminum cans made of just one material, electronic devices are constructed with many different materials, so recycling e-waste is a more complex process.  The most important reason to recycle e-waste is to keep these devices from landfills, but the devices can also be used to save costs in manufacturing other materials.

In general, as much as 99 percent of all materials from electronics are reused in a different capacity or sold:

– Small amounts of copper and gold will be sold and then reused in alternative capacities.

– Some plastic, which is already the right grade for electronic devices will be re-used for such

– Materials can be used to manufacture other products such as lighters or wood composites.

– plastic housing is ground into smaller pieces and used as retaining blocks and pothole mix.

– Circuit boards and chips can be reused to repair or upgrade older electronics or recycled for scrap value.

NOT SO FUN FACTS

Some electronics may contain up to 8 pounds of lead

Electronics also contain lower levels of mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and other toxic chemicals.

300 million computers and one billion cell phones are produced every year, with each having an average lifespan of three to five years.

E-waste accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total amount of trash, but it contributes about 40 percent of the lead content in landfills.

E-waste accounts for about 70 percent of the heavy metal pollution in landfills

Make sure when you are upgrading your electronic devices you look for a local e-waste center to recycle your old devices. 

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HOW THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD

Approximately 242 million tires are discarded annually in the United States. Some of these tires will be stock piled and illegally disposed of ending up in our landfills.  Tires can be recycled many different ways, makin fuel and saving our landfills, roads, children, etc.  I was surprised at the different ways tires are recycled at my local recycle station. 

They are first sent to a tire dismantler to remove the rims from the wheels.  Tires that can be rethreated and reused are.  The remaining scrap tires are sent to a facility for shredding.  A large magnet called a crum will pass over the tire scraps to remove any left over steel. 

Some of the remaining rubber is then ground again, colored and used to cover playgrounds and horse arenas.

Another common use for the recycled rubber is to combine it with asphalt to make roads.  Over the past years, California has used over 10 million waste tires in Rubberized Asphalt Concrete (RAC) paving projects.

 

Tires cannot just be thrown in the garbage, and your local dump will most likely charge for your tire trash.  When you purchase new tires, make sure you ask if they will dispose of your old tires for you.  This will save you money and ensure the tires will end up in the proper recycle facility.

DON’T TRASH OUR FUTURE – Even SpongeBob Recycles

Your never to young to recycle, and it’s important to educate our children and explain to them that the earth is their home and we have to do what we can to take care of it and respect it.  Use examples like: writing paper, paper plates, and paper bags are made from trees.  Let them know that when we recycle paper products, they can be reused and a tree is saved.

WHAT IS RECYCLING:

Start by explaining that there are three key ways to help the earth.   Teach your kids about the three R’s, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle:

  • reduce: this means cutting back on the amount of waste used in everyday life. For example, reduce waste by teaching kids to use canvas bags at the grocery store instead of plastic bags, don’t waste water, etc.
  • reuse: reuse an existing item in your household in order to minimize waste. For example, reuse gift bags to cut down on paper waste or decorate cans or jars with stickers or glitter to create a unique pencil holder.
  • recycle: recycling means when an object can be shredded, melted, or processed in order to create new raw materials; for instance, an aluminum can, paper and cardboard can be used to create new products

HOW CAN THEY HELP:

  • First teach the kids what items can be re-used at home for notes, crafts, etc and which items are trash.
  • Then show your kids how waste needs to be sorted to be properly recycled.  Have separate bins for plastic, plastic, glass, paper products, etc.  Most kids will love to be in charge of recycling at home.  Have them make signs for the garbage cans that designate what goes where.  Let them monitor everyone’s recycling habits.
  • Teach by example.  Make sure you practice what you preach and that you do all you can to set a good example for the kids.
  • After the cans, bottles, etc are collected, take your kids to the recycling center to exchange them for money.  Money is a great motivator and they will also be proud they are doing good for the environment.
  • Have your children grow a vegetable garden. Explain to them that by growing their own garden they are saving on the packaging used to buy those vegetables at the grocery stores
  • Organize a nature walk through the neighborhood or park and help your kids collect recyclable litter to help clean around your home.
  • Donating unused items instead of disposing of them is a great way to recycle and help others at the same time.

It is important to start simple and fun.

Previous recycle tips can be found here at Don\’t Trash Our Future (Part 1)

On a personal note…..since I spoke with my youngest child (now 8 years old) about recycling, he has changed the way the whole family recycles.  He is so excited to put a new can or water bottle in the bin that we all now look for them while we are out.  I don’t think we ever really realized how much garbage you could bring home to recycle.  And in today’s economy, the extra cash is an added plus.  🙂

DON’T TRASH OUR FUTURE – part 1

This is part 1 of an ongoing series providing information, tools, tips, facts, secrets, ideas, and more.  I will cover the different ways we can do more to recycle in our homes and offices, where our garbage goes, the recycling process, different ways we can all go green, how recycling helps, and much, much more. 

WHY SHOULD WE RECYCLE:

Recycling is the process of turning one products useful parts into a new product.  It is true that recycling reduces the need for landfills, but it does much more than that.  By recycling, you are conserving natural resources like trees, metal, minerals, oil, water, etc.  This also reduces the amount of pollution and greenhouse gases released into the environment and conserves energy. 

As you know I am a big fan of “fun facts.”  I have put together a few NOT so fun facts to get this series started:

  • The average American uses about the equivalent of one 100-foot-tall Douglas fir-tree in paper and wood products each year.
  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • Recycling a four-foot stack of newspapers saves the equivalent of one 40-foot fir-tree.
  • If only 100,000 people stopped their junk mail, we could save up to 150,000 trees annually.
  • Making paper from recycled material uses 60% less energy than making virgin paper.
  • The average American throws out about 61 lbs of tin cans every month.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum every month to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours, or a TV for 2 hours.
  • An aluminum can recycled today will be back on the grocery shelf in about 60 days.
  • If we recycled all of our aluminum cans for one year, we could save enough energy to light Washington, D.C. for 3.7 years.
  • Every year we make enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.
  • The average American uses approximately 1 billion shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste.
  • In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his/her adult weight in garbage. 
  • Motor oil never wears out; it just gets dirty. Oil can be recycled, re-refined and used again, reducing our reliance on imported oil.
  • Each year American throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups, enough every year to circle the earth 436 times.
  • A full bath tub requires about 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses only 10-25 gallons of water.
  • A microwave oven uses about 50 percent less energy than a conventional oven.
  • An estimated 80 million Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover over 50 acres of space.  Most of that foil goes into the trash.
  • A typical family consumes 182 gallons of soda, 29 gallons of juice, 104 gallons of milk, and 26 gallons of bottled water a year.  Most of these containers end up in landfills.

To be continued……

DON\’T TRASH OUR FUTURE – Even Sponge Bob Recycles