For all of the progress that has been made in the business of recycling, electronic equipment remains difficult and inconvenient to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way for most of the U.S. The state of California, however, is a big, bright exception to the status quo. According to Ecollective, the Golden State can now boast that 83% of its residents are within 10 miles (in many cases, much less) of an e-waste recycling center. The new recycling centers have exploded across the state in the four months since Ecollective launched the program, and increased in density to serve 13% more Californian residents since we last checked in on them in November.
It’s a much needed, long overdue idea that needs to gain traction in the rest of the U.S., and soon. Electronics usually contain toxic materials that make the process of recycling them complicated. Since most of the U.S. lacks programs that can safely process e-waste locally, electronic items that are submitted to recycling programs often end up getting shipped off to China, where they are handled in a less-than-environmentally friendly manner, sometimes exposing workers and the environment to highly toxic elements.
Ecollective says its locations centers are staffed with people that will assist one with unloading heavier items and erasing personal data off of cell phones and computers. The items are then broken down into their valuable, constituent parts such as glass, copper, aluminum and steel, and recycled accordingly.
It is said U.S. consumers generate 40 million tons of e-waste annually. Programs like the Ecollective offering luckily offset this. If an Ecollective location isn’t near you, you can usually check with your local trash hauler or city hall to see if e-waste recycling facilities exist nearby.
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