Your desktop dinosaur doesn't have to meet its destiny in the landfill.
Electronic devices connect us to the ones we love, and keep us working even when we're not in the office. With technological advances making last month's model obsolete before the first bill arrives in the mail, many are left wondering if the landfill is the only option for their electronic waste. Truth be told, the landfill should not even be an option. All electronics can be recycled and repurposed. A good portion of these repurposed devices come from the recycling of unwanted electronics.
In the U.S., e-waste increased by 8.6 percent between 2005 and 2006, while waste in general only increased by 1.2 percent, according to statistics by the Electronic Take Back Coalition.
We scoured the internet and found 3 productive ways e-waste is being put to use to make the world a cleaner place. Got a tip or suggestion about how to transform e-trash into treasure? Share it in a comment!
The Next Medical Miracle?
When most of us hear the word "waste" we automatically think "dirty and useless," but when researchers at the University of York’s Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence took a closer look at their country's e-waste problem, they discovered a way to turn a component of the fastest growing waste stream into a beneficial medical substance.
Results of their study revealed that the chemical compound polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA), a key element of television sets with liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, can be transformed an anti-microbial substance that destroys infections such as Escherichia coli and some strains of Staphylococcus aureus.
Fuel of the Future
Thanks to some students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, sending your electronics off to be recycled into something better might soon be a thing of the past. Using old computer electronic parts to create Bio-Grow, an algae bio-reactor that can be constructed right in your own home.
From Green Packs: [Bio-Grow’s] various components include side panels from an Apple G4 CPU tower for the incubating tank which also has a water pump, that aerates the algae and provides it with the maximum exposure to sunlight. PVC pipes for structural reinforcement and high density foam for insulation and stability. The team used an Apple iMac CRT to emit the light and heat which the algae needs to grow. Along with that a modified Dell Latitude CPX laptop has also been used to control and adjust the temperature and required light spectrums generated by the iMac CRT.
The student research team responsible for Bio-Grow hopes that their project can be used to reduce electronic waste in landfills, as well as a way to make bio-fuel accessible at the household level, which would drive up production and lower costs.
Turn It Into Cash
If you're all about recycling, you might be disappointed to learn that you can't set your computer or microwave out by the curb with your bottles and cans. E-waste is considered to be part of the "hazardous waste" family, meaning you have to make sure all the components are disposed of properly. Many people worry that even the local "recycler"
If you're all about recycling, you might be disappointed to learn that you can't set your computer or modern "smart" appliances out by the curb with your bottles and cans. Before recycling something, figure out if it can be saved or not. Replacement appliance parts and computer parts can be purchased online and many vendors offer technical assistance for parts customers. If something is not worth saving, please keep in mind that e-waste is considered to be part of the "hazardous waste" family, meaning you have to make sure all the components are disposed of properly. Many people worry that even the local "recycler" might just be shipping e-waste overseas where it'll be picked over by low income families and then incinerated, sending harmful pollution into the atmosphere.
It turns out that there are several online services that will not only take your e-waste, and dispose of it responsibly, they might even pay you for it! All you have to do is search for your device, agree to sell it back at the offered price, ship it in and wait for your check.