Templeton Guide|Friday, November 24, 2017
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High Tech Trash 

Toxic piles of your old cell phones

Electronic waste, or e-waste, describes discarded electronic devices or equipment. Electronic gadgets have quickly become the fastest growing waste stream in many countries, including the U.S., which generates and exports the largest amount of e-waste. Most electronics nowadays are hard to upgrade and impractical to repair. Why do you think Apple comes out with a new and improved iPhone every year? And why do you think new system updates, like iOS7, are designed to make older phones crash? Because electronic companies want to spend more time selling new devices than upgrading and fixing old ones. When we are forced to buy new devices on a relatively regular basis, what do we usually do with the old ones? Toss them in the trash can.

Disposing of our e-waste in trash cans and landfills leads to them getting shipped to “recycling centers” in countries like Ghana, which is referred to as a “Digital Dumping Ground,” or China. Workers spend all day sifting through mountains of e-waste, breaking apart, burning, and melting computer parts – all the while releasing toxins such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and lead that pose a hazardous threat to both humans and the environment.

Additionally, workers at the aforementioned recycling centers can actually access personal and financial information stored on used monitors, computers, and cell phones. Although we think we are safely getting rid of our cell phones and laptops by throwing them into the trash, we are causing harm to others and ourselves, in numerous ways.

The State of California has tested and determined that cell phones, telephones, televisions, and computers are classified as hazardous waste. With that said, it is vital that we discard our old electronic equipment safely. Here’s how:cell phone trash
I. Cell phones and telephones
a. Take your old cell phone to a cell phone retailer – all retailers selling cell phones are required to take them back at no charge.

II. Computers and printers; PC monitors and televisions
a. Chicago Grade Landfill accepts all computers, monitors, and related equipment.

III. Appliances (microwaves, toasters, refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc)
a. Appliances can be dropped off at any appliance drop-off site.
Chicago Grade Landfill
Homestead Road, Atascadero
(805) 466-2985
Accepts all electronic waste, free.
Open Mon-Sat 7:30 a.m.-3 .p.m. and Sun 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

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