At the end of a product’s lifespan, it’s important that it is disposed of properly. Rather than sending items to a landfill, most products can be recycled, allowing them to gain a new lease on life as a new product. When it comes to categories of items that can be recycled, most people know that metal and electronics can be recycled. What may not be as obvious, however, is a host of other details that go into the recycling of these valuable materials. To give you a better handle on the importance of recycling, here are three things most people don’t know about recycling metal and electronics.
It’s Fairly Labor-Intensive
When it comes to recycling electronics, the process of separating and extracting the recyclable materials is fairly labor-intensive. This makes sense when you think about a complex machine such as a computer. Given that you’ve got glass in the screen, metal in the motherboard, and plastic in various places around the body, the computer must be manually disassembled to ensure everything that can be recycled is sent to the proper place. In some cases, this slow-moving characteristic of electronics recycling has led companies to send their electronic waste overseas. However, there are often no environmental regulations in these other countries, so it’s important to utilize a trusted and environmentally conscious recycler when your electronics have become obsolete.
Metals Come in All Shapes and Sizes
When recycling metal, it’s important to carefully consider the types of metals you have, as they can come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. For example, copper recycling can be tricky because of the wide range of sources from which it originates. You can find copper in pipes, scrap metal, power and data cables, and as the power core in various types of motors. These minute details allow more materials to be recycled but also requires a learned eye to properly separate recyclable materials.
It Lasts A Long Time
If electronics and metal aren’t recycled, future generations will be feeling their potentially polluting effects for a long time to come. For example, the plastic casing of a computer can, by some estimates, last for a million years or more. Other materials, electronic or not, can take from hundreds to thousands of years to rot away, with no guarantees that pollution won’t be released during that timeframe. That’s why recycling is such a crucial process, as it stops this eons-long decomposition before it starts.
It Can Be Lucrative
If you know what you’re looking for, recycling metal and electronic waste can be fairly lucrative. Since there’s value in most recyclable materials, if you’re able to assemble enough of it, you can make a decent amount of money. Whether or not you’re getting paid, though, recycling what’s no longer usable is one of the most important things you can do.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at facebook.com/brooke.chaplan or Twitter @BrookeChaplan