Why You Should Recycle Your Electronics: 

The Environmental and Human Health Reasons


Recycling your personal and business electronic waste may just be the perfect win-win situation!  There are at least nine major benefits that stem from it.

When you recycle your broken or outdated electronics, you:

  • Eliminate the environmental and health hazards that they create as they break down.
  • Conserve natural resources by extending the life cycle of refurbished electronics
  • Promote energy efficiency since it takes far less energy to recycle electronics than mining raw materials and manufacturing new components
  • Contribute to job formation in the recycling industry
  • Protect your company’s intellectual property and customer’s secure personal data
  • Operate within the boundaries of the law in 25 states
  • Doing something good for the less fortunate

Hard to imagine?  This blog will focus on just one area, eliminating environmental and health hazards.  Check back every month to learn more about the benefits of recycling electronics!

Did you know?  E-waste is a leader among the most toxic things that could potentially be put in landfill.  An older computer monitor or television may contain up to eight pounds of lead.  Lead Older computer monitors and televisions can have up to eight pounds of lead in them.  Lead can annihilate whole populations of micro-organisms when soil lead concentrations exceed 1,000 parts per million (ppm).  These micro-organisms are needed for basic decomposition to take place.  Lead in the soil can stunt plant growth or kill plants by slowing photosynthesis, making it difficult for plants to breathe, and causing pre-mature aging in plant roots.  Lead can damage the central nervous systems of animals, and has a disastrous impact on their ability to create red blood cells. Lead also reduces how much nutrition animals can absorb through their intestines.

Lead also has incredibly negative consequences on human health, particularly in children.  Lead accumulates in tissues and attacks the brain and central nervous system.  In high enough concentrations, it causes coma, convulsions and even death. Children who survive severe lead poisoning may be left mentally retarded and behaviorally dysfunctional.  Symptoms can include shortened attention spans and increased antisocial behaviors.  Anemia, hypertension, kidney disease, and damaged reproductive organs also may result.

Lead is not the only toxic element used in electronics.  Mercury, cadmium and beryllium are also extensively used and there are a host of environmental and health dangers associated with these elements as well.  Beryllium damages lung tissue.  Emphysema and fibrosis may result from even limited contact.  Prolonged exposure to cadmium can lead to kidney and bone damage.  Mercury, like lead, can damage the central nervous system.

When e-waste finds its way into landfills such toxic metals seep out and contaminate the soil and water, causing health problems and polluting the atmosphere. Incinerating e-waste produces volatilized heavy metals that cause an even more significant public health hazard.

A major health benefit of recycling relates to reduction of pollution. Mining and processing minerals emit 1.5 tons of toxic emissions into the air and water every year. E-waste recycling contributes to eliminating ten major categories of air pollutants and eight major categories of water pollutants.

Old hardware put into container

When you begin to understand the very high cost to human health and the environment, it’s easy to see why tossing discarded electronics into the landfill is illegal in California!  This includes desktop and laptop computers, CRTs and flat panel monitors as well as a broad band of other electronic products.  If you’re in Southern California and have outdated or broken electronics you want to dispose of, please contact Green Tree Electronics Recycling.  We’re working hard to defend Southern California’s environment and protect our community.  Find out more by visiting our website.