This time of year, many people are faced with piles of old electronics – replaced by newer toys given as holiday gifts. Before you chunk that old TV or computer in the garbage, you might want to consider recycling it.
Electronics contain a number of rare minerals that are very expensive to mine and its not good for the Earth for them all to wind up in the landfill. Besides helping the planet, experts say by recycling your old electronics you are helping to create jobs and boost the economy.
Bryan Studley is into the 'Steampunk' hobby – making retro-futuristic gadgets with a Victorian Era aesthetic. Its like Jules Verne meets an erector set. He scours old electronics for parts to use "I take all of our electronics apart that are broken and I take down all of their little components to see if they can be used in other projects," he said.
Most people, however, are not as crafty as Studley. The rest of us wind up with piles of junk. In those piles are precious resources waiting to be recaptured. "There's a lot of benefit to be had (in recycling). Like recovering very valuable resources like strontium and all these very rare Earth minerals that we have limited resources of, and are very expensive to mine and pull out of the Earth in a financially expensive and environmentally expensive way," explained Earth911.com Spokesperson Jennifer Berry.
Berry advocates the recycling process for several reasons. When you recycle (the materials), they are available, they are already in the form you need to make new electronics and the energy footprint of that is just astronomically lower," she said.
Once the materials go to the landfill, they are lost forever. "By putting them in a landfill, the rare Earth minerals; the gold, the titanium, is unavailable for reuse," said Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Recycling Programs Coordinator Shannon Herriott.
Its not just the planet you are helping out by recycling the gadgets. "When it comes to recycling, you are actually helping to create jobs beyond conserving resources," said Berry. Plus, the Earth gets a benefit too. "Obviously the more garbage we have the more it hurts the planet. So obviously if somebody was recycling those materials there were would be less in the dirt," observed Studley.
You can also find complete recycling information on Earth911.com