By Lynn Viesti Berube
Most of us have gotten into the good habit or recycling our plastic, glass, cardboard, and other materials on a regular basis, largely because it’s fairly easy to do and the items are collected on a regular basis by cities and towns. But what about all the old electronics that are collecting dust in our homes?
There are more than 260 million smartphone users in the United States today. That means 80% of the population is replacing their phones every few years – or more frequently for those who always want the latest and greatest. Tablets, laptops, smart watches, fitness trackers, game consoles, and all sorts of other electronic devices also have fairly short replacement cycles. Then there are other items, like printers, monitors, televisions, and other items, which eventually get replaced as well. It all adds up to an awful lot of e-waste, which has increased by 20% globally over the past five years. That figure is projected to grow by another 40% by the end of the decade.
The problem is that only about 17% of e-waste is documented and recycled or properly disposed of, which presents two problems.
First, these electronics contain many valuable raw materials that could be reused for new electronics or other items. These include iron, gold, palladium, copper, and more, all of which have to be mined and processed to build new components. Reducing the demand for new materials can save resources and money and reduce pollution.
The second issue is that, if not recycled, many of these old electronics end up in landfills, where hazardous chemicals can seep into and contaminate soil and water in surrounding areas, creating long-term health risks. In addition, much of our waste is eventually transported to and dumped in Third World countries, who have little understanding of its potential impact.
There’s also the simple problem that some items aren’t disposed of at all and simply create clutter in homes.
There’s simple answer – recycling.
The Milford Bank is again hosting its Shred & Recycle Day, Saturday, October 10th, at its 295 Boston Post Rd, Milford, location. The annual event allows residents of Milford and surrounding towns to get rid of not only old electronics, but also old documents that need to be shredded.
The event will be held from 9:00am-1:00pm, or until the two shred trucks are filled. Electronic recycling is free to the general public, and document shredding is free for The Milford Bank’s customers (others may also take advantage of the service for a small $5 per box fee, all of which will be donated to Milford Food 2 Kids). There is a three-box limit per household or business on paper, and no limit on electronics.
The Milford Bank is working with AFA Electronic Recyclers, a state-recognized e-recycling facility for electronic waste. AFA addresses one of the concerns some people have around data security with its process, which includes completely dismantling and storage devices and shredding the data platters where the data is actually stored. This provides data security for customers, while allowing all other components to be recycled for parts and raw materials.
If you have old electronics lying around the house, this is your chance to not only do a little fall cleaning, but do you share for the environment as well. Take some time to collect those old items and dispose of the properly at The Milford Bank’s Shred & Recycle Day, Saturday, October 10th.