With each year, the amount of e-waste across the globe is increasing. As more and more people upgrade to new technology, most tend to throw away their old electronics. This behaviour results in gadgets such as computers, laptops, smartphones or cameras ending up in landfills. It has a very harmful impact on the environment and is one of the reasons behind climate change too. To cut down on rising e-waste volumes, recycling old electronics and proper disposal is crucial.

Here are ten answers to the most frequently asked questions about recycled and used electronics.

1. What items can be considered e-waste?
All electronics such as computers, televisions, printers, laptops, cameras and smartphones that are no longer being used or discarded usually go to waste. The items which are near end-of-life end up being thrown away or refurbished if possible. It is still not common to securely dispose of electronics or recycle them. In 2019, only 17.4% of all e-waste was recycled worldwide.

2. Is it possible to recycle electronics?
You can recycle almost all modern electronic items, including appliances including microwaves, power equipment and even lamps. Only a few electronics that contain lead, mercury, or any dangerous chemicals cannot be recycled without safety measures. There are many options to recycle old or used laptops, as you can sell them online for cash or donate the items to schools.

3. Why should you recycle old electronics?
The rising amount of e-waste is a significant threat to the environment and pollutes rivers, oceans, or land. Most electronics have precious metals like gold and palladium, which can be recovered and used in other products. Appliances and gadgets also contain toxins or chemicals that might leak into water or the ground. This can lead to health problems in adults and children.

4. Can you refurbish or repair some items?
Computers and laptops can be easily refurbished and sold again as there is a large market for such products. You can increase the storage or get a new display to increase the lifespan of the device. To avoid electronic waste, many such items can also be repaired and reused for a longer time.

5. When is the right time to recycle used electronics?
It is recommended that you recycle or dispose of old electronics as soon as you upgrade to a newer model or equipment. Many people tend to wait for a long time and end up with a pile of gadgets that no one can use. By recycling them quickly, you can prevent more e-waste from ending up in landfills.

6. Where to recycle electronics?
You can look for an e-waste recycling business or facility near your location to drop off used electronic items for disposal. Various electronic waste management companies have also set up recycling centres to collect appliances and devices which need to be disposed of safely. Many corporations are running trade-in programs that allow people to give in their old smartphones, tablets or laptops to be recycled for free or get a gift card in return.

7. Does an electronics recycler need to be certified?
Yes, it is important to check for certifications from eWASA. EWASA membership is one way to know your e-waste recycler is trustworthy. They provide guidance for responsible and eco-friendly practices that e-waste recyclers should follow. Since electronics are difficult to break down and have chemicals that need to be disposed of safely, businesses or facilities must follow proper measures.

8. Is there a cost for recycling electronics?
Sometimes, you may have to make a small payment for recycling used electronics. Companies that manage toxic e-waste can charge a fee to collect it and prevent the chemicals from leaking anywhere. Printers, old televisions and appliances that are a threat to the environment are challenging to recycle. They require expensive equipment and safe transportation, which is why you might have to pay to dispose of them.

9. Do recyclers wipe out data from laptops or smartphones?
This is quite a huge concern for people looking to recycle their devices. It is recommended that you erase the data and all information from computers, laptops and tablets before sending them to a recycling facility. Wipe the hard drive clean and back up the data to your cloud or storage device. Some recycling businesses also protect confidential information by erasing the drive as part of the process.

10. What happens to e-waste that is recycled?
Mainly, large industries recycle old electronics for plastics, copper and aluminium. Some businesses also resell parts or accessories at reasonable prices. Recycling facilities can also refurbish and sell gadgets that are in good condition and have a second-hand market value.

To Sum Up
These are some of the most frequently asked questions about recycled and used electronics. If you find yourself confused about the process or how to discard old electronics, you can find all the information right here!