Despite the harms that can be caused by disposing of electronics in landfills along with other refuse, e-cycling is mandated by law in only half of the United States. As a result, in many areas it is left up to the consumer to make sure they throw away their used batteries, computers, cell phones and other equipment through the proper channels.
According to 8NewsNow.com, a Nevada local news station, electronic waste is the fastest growing stream of garbage in the country. But very few people realize that all of those items they're tossing in the garbage can contain heavy metals and toxic substances that, if sent to a landfill, could seep into the groundwater supply and contaminate drinking water.
Some municipalities also burn their trash for energy. When electronic refuse ends up in these incinerators, it can release toxic materials into the atmosphere, causing respiratory problems for local populations.
Another reason to have your electronic products recycled is that they often contain valuable materials that can be reused in other consumer goods. This could result in lower prices for electronics in the long run as manufacturers don't have to mine for new materials, and can instead rely on a steady stream of recycled supplies.
In other words, e-cycling isn't just an environmental imperative, it's also an economic one. If you're unsure where you can dispose of your used electronic items, we recommend checking out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website. There you can find information on local recycling programs, as well as the many public health risks associated with improper disposal of e-waste.