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Effects of E-Waste on the Environment

SecureData helps to reduce electronic waste.


Technology Has Significant Effects on the Environment

Everyone waits with bated breath to see when the newest version of a phone or computer is coming out. But when everyone ditches their older model for the latest update, where do those devices end up?

Electronic waste is defined as discarded electrical or electronic devices. It is the waste we generate from broken, obsolete, or discarded electronics and can be just as dangerous for the environment as paper or plastic. Earth911.com stated that The United States produces more e-waste annually than any other country with 9.4 million tons.

These products whether they be phones, computers, monitors, or tablets, contain many toxic chemicals. These compounds such as Mercury, lead, and Beryllium do not organically break down and can be absorbed by the atmosphere or contaminate groundwater. When plant or animal life in the surrounding areas are exposed to this hazardous waste, their health declines and the rest of the food chain suffers.

What Companies Do With Your Recycled Device

Though there are many waste management companies who participate in electronic recycling programs, there are still tons of unused valuable metals that wind up in landfills. When a recycling facility receives your electronic device, they go through a rigorous separation process.

The device is first shredded to separate plastic from metal. After that, it goes through further shredding to prepare for more in-depth sorting. As the metal is processed, an overhead magnet removes any iron or steel from the waste. This metal is then reused or sold as recycled commodity materials. The waste is broken down further when the copper and aluminum parts are separated from the remaining plastic. The final step is removing any metal scraps still in the mix from the plastic pieces.

While these recycled pieces are mostly sold and reused for new materials, many media devices contain valuable pieces. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that for every one million cell phones that are recycled, there are 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, and 75 pounds of gold that are recovered.

Next Steps for Your Recycled Device

There are a variety of uses for electronic devices after they go through the recycling process. The most common use for the coppers and metals from your device is to be used in another piece of technology. Pieces from the battery in your phone can be used for a new battery. The pieces of plastic from computers are usually flame-retardant and thus become useful pieces for the coating on new devices. Metals can even be used in jewelry and automotive parts.

The recycling system is more complex than simply separating metals from plastics. The plastic pieces are removed from the conveyor belt because some varieties can be used for specific materials. Some recycled plastic is used to create outdoor furniture or plastic building materials.

Create Your Own Technology Art

There are several other ways for you to recycle your device. You can donate it to a charity or nonprofit group or sell it to a Tech Firm, who can offer store credit or money depending on the device you turn in.

Another popular choice is to make your own art piece out of an electronic product. People have created pictures on their walls, sculptures, or even wearable jewelry. These pieces not only keep electronic equipment out of landfills but offer a new appealing art piece for others to enjoy.

Secure Data is Doing Their Part

Currently, Secure Data Recovery reuses some parts from the old hard drives they receive such as magnets, logic boards, and more. We are looking into using a Degausser machine, which is a machine with incredibly powerful magnetic forces. It eliminates data from any device by neutralizing or erasing the data with the strength of the magnetic field. This guarantees your data is no longer retrievable and parts from the wiped drives can be reused.

We only reuse hard drive parts after a client has safely gotten their data back and wanted the device destroyed rather than sent back to them. We also maintain partner locations with businesses who adopt green practices. Our partner, Experimac, sends products to recycling centers but initially tries to teach customers how minimal repair can keep their device usable.

In addition to our recycling actions, we are Green Business Certified. The Green Business Certification, Inc. pushes businesses to adopt green business practices. Their certification teams measure business’ sustainable efforts including their energy sources, amount of waste, building materials, and innovations in green practices. Secure Data Recovery is a part of the movement to regenerate and sustain the health of the environment and communities around it.

Don’t Toss It, We Can Help

When a data loss disaster happens and your phone, computer, or flash drive is damaged or dead, don’t assume your data is gone. When your device fails, Secure Data Recovery provides a variety of services to recover your important information. We even offer to destroy your device and recycle the parts following recovery. Call Secure Data Recovery Services at 1-800-388-1266 for a free phone consultation.

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