Electronics Recycling 101
It's Time to Let Go
Chances are that right at this moment you have an old television, computer, printer, or phone system sitting around in your garage or attic. Don’t worry you’re not alone. The Institue for Local Self-Reliance estimates that 75 percent of unused and obsolete electronics are stored away because people are unclear about the proper way to manage their outdated electronics. Let’s face it, it’s hard to let go of that TV you had been watching Andy Griffith reruns on for so many years, and it’s unclear where to toss the thing when you finally do realize it’s got to go.
So you’ve decide it’s time to get rid of that old hand dial TV. You’ve said your goodbyes and faced your sorrows. Finally the hard part is over, the heart wrenching separation is final and its time to move on (maybe to that nice new 42” DLP enhanced HDTV flat screen you’ve been eyeing). Unfortunately, the agony has only just begun for most people once they’ve decided to get rid of their TV. Due to the toxic levels of lead, mercury, cadmium and other hazardous chemicals found in the typical television dumping may not be an option. In California it’s against the law to discard a television, monitor or other CRT containing device into the landfills. That means leaving it curbside for your trash hauling service won’t do. So the question of, “What now?” inevitably enters your mind.
There are many organizations out there that accept donated useable equipment. In some cases you may even be able to receive a tax write-off for good conditioned equipment that is only slightly outdated. We at YNot Recycle believe that reuse is the best alternative to dumping that old TV or computer and with some time and research you may be able to find a nice new home for your electronics. However, many people find that donating a single TV or computer to an organization may be harder to accomplish than at first imagined. While it may seem stingy on the organization’s behalf, there are very valid reasons why your donation may be turned away. Repair and maintenance of several different models and systems can cost a non-profit organization significantly over time and the organization may not be able to use your model until they’ve collected a significant amount of the same kind or similar. Even if an organization can accumulate enough of a certain electronic good, repair may be impossible if the manufacturer has discontinued support for that particular model. On top of this, when it comes to computer systems, transferring your software to another user may actually be in violation of the terms of the licensing and can result in the organization’s necessity to purchase software that may cost many times over the value of the machine. So, once again you are back to, “What now?”
Even though your old television may contain hazardous chemicals you never wanted to know about, there are quite a few good reusable materials in the average television set as well. This means that when you recycle your old TV you are allowing greater recycled materials to enter back into the product stream. This reduces the amount of virgin materials needed to create new products. This is where YNot Recycle can step in and help you out the most.
Televisions and computers from finish to start
Televisions and computers are made up of many different components each of which may need to undergo a separate and complex recycling process. Follow the below example to find out how a typical television or computer is recycled back into new products.
The first step in recycling is to make sure that the prior step of reuse has been eliminated. This means testing the equipment as it is received and determine if the product has truly reached its end-of-life. Often times a recycler has done a greater amount of research and may be able to find new hope for electronics previously deemed unusable. Some products may still be useable, if not as a whole unit, for its components and thus enabling certain parts of the device to be redirected back into the reuse stream. For those products that have truly met their demise it is time to dismantle.
CRT glass contains a high enough concentration of lead to categorize it as a hazardous substance. This means that the glass can’t go back into the normal recovery process as bottles and cans might. CRT glass is typically crushed in a contained environment then separated and cleaned. One of the major reuses for CRT glass is in manufacturing new televisions and monitors. In other cases the lead can be used as a flux material to remove slag from newly mined lead.
Circuit boards are typically shredded down to a fine powder and separated into typical plastics, and precious metals through a fire assay process. This material can be reformed into just about everything from jewelry to computer chips.
Plastics in computers and televisions are seldom marked appropriately and can be difficult to identify for proper recycling. Plastics are often times shredded and tested for its content. Once identified the plastics can be pellitized and turned into resins for new products or even used as fuels.
Scrap metals are found throughout electronic devices in the forms of clips and screws. These items are typically melted down to form new metal based components.
Keeping it simple
YNot Recycle can help keep all this simple for you. Our staff does all the work and worry for you. Your job is just to get your unwanted electronics to your front door. Using our stringent environmentally ethical guidelines we insure the best management of your outdated and unwanted electronics. The greatest part for you is that this is a completely free service to businesses and residents in and around Sacramento, California.
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