Electronic Waste: what to do with it?
This podcast was produced by Polk County Conservation and funded by Resource Enhancement and Protection Conservation Education program or REAP-CEP.
Hi my name is Heidi Anderson, naturalist for Polk County Conservation. When was the last time your replaced your cell phone, computer, or television? If you’re like me, you can probably answer sometime within the last 18 months.
Electronics have revolutionized our lifestyle. However, these items contain hazardous materials like mercury and lead, can threaten our environment if tossed in the garbage. Reusing and recycling electronic waste or e-waste prevents them from reaching our landfills.
So how do you reuse or recycle an old cell phone, computer, or television? Consider donating it to a family member or friend. There are also organizations that collect old electronics and resell them for profit and many communities have places to recycle them. A number of electronic manufacturers and retailers also offer e-waste recycling. To see a list of these companies, visit earth911.com.
If you are going to upgrade your electronics, buy green! Buying green means deciding which products to buy based on their impact on the environment. Look at the materials used to make these products and whether or not it has an Energy Star. These products use less energy. Some companies are making better devices that are more aware of their environmental impact. Research a product before you purchase it and support businesses that are doing their part.
During the year 2005, almost two million tons of e-waste ended up in landfills. (electronic noise) While toxic materials comprise only a small amount of this volume, it doesn’t take much lead or mercury to contaminate an area’s soil or water supply. Keep this in mind the next time you’re figuring out what to do with those old electronic devices.
This podcast was funded by REAP-CEP which is a program the State of Iowa invests in to enhance and protect the state's natural and cultural resources. REAP provides money for projects through state agency budgets or in the form of grants. For more information about REAP, visit iowareap.com.