Waste from technology, known as e-waste, can be especially toxic and, as people are getting new cell phones every other year, it’s becoming a real problem. However, by recycling and refurbishing old technology instead of throwing it away or buying used equipment instead of new, you can be part of the solution.
Why Go Green?
Waste from technology such as computers, monitors, servers, cell phones, TVs, DVD players, and other commonly used products has been growing exponentially. And, it’s super toxic. In fact, e-waste makes up approximately 70% of the toxic waste in the U.S. and makes up 2% of the trash in our landfills. When you consider that this e-waste may contain lead, mercury, and other toxic heavy metals, that’s a real problem.
Much of the e-waste produced doesn’t get recycled, but even if it does go into a recycling program, it may just end up overseas where it is incinerated or melted down for precious metals. This releases toxins into the air and creates unsafe and unhealthy environments for the workers processing the e-waste.
When you consider that much of the technology thrown away is still in good working condition, could be repaired, or could be salvaged for copper, silver, gold, and palladium, it makes more and more sense to find another way.
- In 2018, e-waste was projected to be 49.8 million tons worldwide
- E-waste has grown by 4-5% annually in recent years
- Only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled
- In the U.S. alone, cellphones worth $60 million worth of gold and silver are thrown away every year
- To manufacture 1 computer and monitor, it takes 539 pounds of fossil fuel, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water
- 80 to 85% of e-waste is discarded in landfills or incinerators, releasing toxins into the air, soil, and water.
How You Can Lower Your Carbon Footprint
To combat e-waste, a movement toward environmentally sustainable computing practices has been growing, known as Green IT. This movement aims to lessen the impact that computing has on the environment, all along the lifecycle, from design and manufacture to refurbishing and recycling equipment at end of life.
First, let’s establish the difference between refurbishing and recycling. Recycling technology or e-waste often means dismantling the equipment, harvesting it for reusable materials, precious metals, and other valuable parts and disposing of the rest. Refurbishing takes an old machine, locates any broken parts, and repairs or replaces them to rebuild a fully functional machine.
Recycling makes sure that any reusable raw materials are salvaged for future use. Refurbishing slows the pace at which equipment needs to be recycled.
Another way you can lower your carbon footprint is by purchasing used or refurbished equipment. On a per pound basis, it takes more raw materials, chemicals, and fossil fuels to manufacture a computer than a car. So, by being a conscious consumer, you not only keep equipment from being sent for recycling prematurely but also reduce the chemicals and emissions needed to create new equipment.
The Summit Refurbishing Process
At Summit, we’re doing our part to reduce e-waste by offering fully functional, high-quality refurbished equipment backed by our Peak Select Lifetime Warranty.
We are proud of our rigorous inspection, repair, and refurbishment process. We invite you to learn more about how we make sure you’re getting refurbished equipment that fits your needs and your budget. For more information on our refurbishing process, check out our step-by-step methods: “The Summit Refurbishing Process in Action.”