Electronics Recycling Info

Let me vent, briefly. My first cell phone was a mobile phone. Mobile, as in car phone. Car phone, as in ‘you can make calls from this faux leather bag that sits on the passenger seat with this gigantic handset’ apparatus. No kidding. The bonus to that phone, and to the candy bar Nokia phones that I had after that gem, was in the unit’s reliability. Believe me, I did my fair share of stress testing those first cellies…I was using those things, and using them hard.

At some point along the way, mobile phones became disposable. Whereas you could probably still dig a Motorola StarTac out of your junk bin and power it on, an LG from three years ago would be absolutely worthless. Likely, it would be problematic within the first few months.

To combat this, companies like Verizon jumped all over a marketing plan for ‘new in two’ and similar schemes…wherein you look forward to getting a shiny new phone…often after your buggy unit started acting up out of the gate. Distraction? Yes.

Term of the day: planned obsolescence.

Stuff fails, which is fine, but the whole idea of moving products often shows itself on the back side of things. What to do with old electronics?

old electronical components
man lab is full of scraps

My workspace is full of old components. I am big into the ‘REUSE” side of the triple Rs. I can (and do) pull all sorts of awesome junk off of a scrapped piece of tech. But when that is done, one must figure out the whole electronics recycling aspect of the deal. There is a reason not to throw out an old tower or television…several chemical reasons, in fact.

The big reason we see computer recycling companies is not for them to turn a profit selling used wares. There are lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, and bromine en mass in old components…good example being those wonky old CRT televisions and computer monitors that are quickly being replaced. Can’t exactly introduce that into a standard landfill. Those companies are keeping the lights on by grabbing usable components, true, but are doing better by selling the copper, steel, and plastic that they can reap from recycled goods. Win/win.

Hit one of those links to see an example of how this is done (and done well.) If you don’t take me up on that advice, don’t toss your old electronics in the trash out of principle. All of that solder is mostly lead, and circuit boards are swimming in solder.