Monday, December 17, 2012

Comfort, Joy, and E-waste?

Ah, the holidays.  Filled with evergreens, twinkling lights, and brightly wrapped boxes.  Every year, there are a few hot items that every child hopes to find when they unwrap their gifts.  This year, the top toys are filled with the latest and greatest technology.  If you’re planning on buying electronics for your family and friends, you should know a few things about electronics disposal. 
Many people purchase electronics as gifts when their loved ones have old or broken devices.  If this is the case for you, make sure you know the laws governing electronics disposal.  Electronics disposal is regulated in many states (including Wisconsin) because of the components of electronics.  The amount of electronic devices that are disposed of each year is growing rapidly as well.  Electronics can be composed of more than 1,000 different materials, many of which can be harmful to your health and the environment (Electronics Take Back Coalition, 2012).  For example, CRT TVs (tube TVs) contain lead, while newer flat screen TVs contain mercury.  If these TVs are thrown in a dumpster and taken to the landfill, these materials can leach into groundwater.  If the e-waste is incinerated, it can create toxic ash which can also get into groundwater or soil.  Both of these options are detrimental to human health and the environment. 
So, if you’re replacing old electronics with new ones this holiday season, recycle!  There are many places in Superior that will recycle them (listed below), as well as many manufacturers and distributers that will take back old electronics.  Landfilling many types of electronics is illegal in Wisconsin and the state’s E-Cycle program requires manufacturers of electronics to pay for recycling programs.  For more information on e-waste and where to recycle electronics in Superior, see below. Remember, even batteries for less techie toys should not be disposed of in your household trash.
Happy holidays!                                                                                    
For more information:

Disposal in Superior:
AA Roll-off
Afterlife Electronics Graveyard
Balcum Appliance
TLK Industries
Superior Landfill (bring to landfill, don’t put in trash)

-Written by Jillian Schubert Edwards

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