A lot of the electronics we use on a regular basis have components to them that are very harmful on the environment. With so many reputable electronic recycling companies out there, there is no reason for us to throw our electronics in the trash. Here are the top 5 electronics to keep out of the landfill.
1. Mobile phones
Mobile phones are comprised of a large amount of components, and most of them contain harmful toxins. Most phones use heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, and lead. They also can contain BFRs, or brominated flame retardants, which are harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment and contaminate the air, soil or water. Since mobile phones are replaced and upgraded on such a regular basis, we should be extra diligent in keeping these chemicals out of the landfill.
2. CRT monitors
CRT monitors are on the way out, as new flat screen monitors are far more useful for consumers. Unfortunately, that results in a lot of the CRT monitors being thrown in the trash. The cathode ray tubes that make up these monitors can contain up to eight pounds of lead. This can be dangerous, as lead should be handled very carefully. If not, it can damage multiple different systems in the body, including the nervous, blood, and reproductive systems.
3. Flat screen monitors
The day of the old CRT monitors seem like a thing of the past for most of us. The new LCD screens are sleeker and clearer. Unfortunately, they aren’t much cleaner for the environment. Most flat screen monitors use mercury to light the device. This chemical is very harmful, both to the environment and to humans. Even small amounts of mercury can cause damage to both the brain and the central nervous system, and should be recycled with care.
4. Laptop batteries
Laptops are extremely useful. You can take one with you pretty much anywhere and you can run it for several hours without having to plug it in. When the battery dies, however, many people simply through it out and replace it with a new one. This is a dangerous thing to do, however, as most batteries use a chemical called cadmium. This chemical is very persistent and long lasting when disposed of improperly, and it can be extremely toxic. If exposed to it, people can be easily harmed, with the chemical attacking the kidneys and bones.
Most cables used to connect our electronics are insulated using PVC, or Polyvinyl chloride. In of itself it is not generally harmful, but if these cables are disposed of by burning or incinerating them, it releases some pretty awful chemicals into the environment. Chemicals called chlorinated dioxins and furans are released when PVC is burned, and these chemicals are very toxic.