438 million electronic products were sold in 2009, which is twice the amount sold in 1997. This increase in electronic sales has resulted in each American household owning 24 electronic products, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.
Types of Electronic Waste
• Computers and Computer Products (Monitors, CPUs, keyboards, mice, laptops, etc.)
• Printers, Copiers, and Ink Cartridges
• Fax Machines and Scanners
• Cell Phones and Pagers
• CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes
• USB Devices
Benefits of Electronics Recycling
There are many environmental, economic, and social benefits to electronic recycling. Most electronic devices are made with precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and zinc. Recycling electronics allows these metals to be recovered and used in new products, which is cheaper and requires less energy than mining and processing raw metals. Also, recycling electronics such as cell phones allows them to be rebuilt and resold for lower cost, making electronics available to more people.
Electronics Landfill Ban
Some of the metals and other materials used in electronic products are considered hazardous to the environment, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium. Therefore, as of July 1, 2011, computer equipment (monitors, keyboards, mice, CPUs, etc.) and televisions are banned from being disposed of in landfills. These electronics can be recycled at waste facilities and many electronic stores offer electronic collection for reuse and recycling.
Electronic Recycling at N.C. State
Electronics are recycled in two ways at N.C. State. Yellow “E-Recycling” bins are located throughout campus next to Plastic and Mixed Paper recycling bins for students and staff to recycle any of their electronic products. All of the products listed in the “Types of Electronic Waste” section above are accepted in the E-Recycling bins. In addition to the E-Recycling bins, the campus Surplus office collects university-owned electronics that are no longer in use. Surplus offers these electronics for sale to individuals on campus or puts them up to be bid upon by recycling agencies.