When we think of upcycling or recycling e-waste, most of us think of our plastic bottles or old newspapers. Yet, many of us forget about items like old computers, lab electronics or medical equipment like x-ray machines.
The reality is, we live in a society where we actively change and discard our old electronics on a regular basis. As, whether it’s that new smartphone every few years or replacing old laptops for new, we all actively make a lot of e-waste.
The problem is, where do these electronics go when they’re no longer wanted? Well, if you take a look at Guiyu, China, which is considered the e-waste capital of the world, electronic items end up in a landfill, which can then leak chemicals into the ground where it lies. Some e-waste is even burnt, which results in toxic ash settling in the local rivers contaminating drinking water.
Your local e-waste problems might not be as bad as this yet, however, with more and more e-waste being discarded every day, it’s only a matter of time. This is why e-waste management is so important, the only question is, should we be upcycling or recycling?
Types of E-Waste
While we know devices like our old cell phones are considered e-waste when they’re no longer wanted or useable, however, what else is considered electronic waste? Well, loosely defined, e-waste is a device that required electricity in order to function.
Common examples of this include:
- Smartphones and smartwatches
- TVs and monitors
- Medical hospital equipment
Should We Recycle or Upcycle?
For most of us, when we think about e-waste management in an environmentally safe manner, we will decide to look into recycling that device. However, because of the rising level of e-waste year-over-year and the problem of questionable recycling practices, recycling just isn’t working as well as it should.
Indeed, when an electronic device is inappropriately recycled, it poses a serious risk to both the planet and its inhabitants. For instance, when an electronic device is improperly recycled, there’s a chance that potentially toxic substances like mercury, lead oxide, cadmium, nickel, and antimony. These substances can easily poison our local rivers and seas and can even end up releasing undesirable gases into the atmosphere.
This is why, rather than recycling, we should be looking to reduce the amount of electronic waste through upcycling.
What is E-Waste Upcycling?
Upcycling or UpcyclIT® is a creative way in which people can reuse their e-waste and make it into something useful again. This is done in a way that stops e-waste from entering landfills in a way that uses less energy and resources than it would take to make something from new.
How Can You E-Waste Upcycle?
When it comes to repurposing, there are a number of ways you can UpcyclIT® or reuse your electronics without causing damage to the environment:
One of the easiest ways to UpcyclIT® for items like cell phones, laptops or tablets is by simply letting someone else reuse them. Just because you’re done with your old iPhone or some other device and have upgraded to the latest model, it doesn’t mean that someone else couldn’t make use of that phone.
Think of an old dresser, it might be a little scratched or need some new handles, for an upcycler this just means it needs a good sanding and a new coat of paint. A phone or laptop need not be any different, as with a new screen, battery or cover, that device can be almost new again. Making it ideal for a family member or even for selling.
Even better, many people are sustainability-conscious and will happily purchase your old devices with a view to upcycling themselves.
Turn it Into Something New
While an LED bulb might just look like a bulb to the normal eye, when you’re looking at ways to upcycle, it can instantly become something new and attractive again. Indeed, bulbs can easily be turned into a plant terrarium, oil burner or even Christmas tree ornaments.
Here are just some of the items you could make:
- Old-school monitors could make fishbowls
- Parts of electronic devices can be used in jewelry making
- Wires and cables can be used in crafting and even toy making
- Certain items can be added to art pieces
If you’re looking for a company to help you recycle your e-waste, whether that be for large commercial companies or small businesses, it is imperative that you choose a recycler that is industry certified. That way you know that your e-waste is being managed and recycled according to industry guidelines.
Surplus Service is the #1 medical and electronics UpcyclIT® solutions company and even trademarked UpcyclIT®. We can help you choose the best method of recycling for your needs. All you need to do is get in touch with one of our waste management experts today at http://www.SurplusService.com or 510226-0600.