Trash generated from broken, obsolete, and surplus electronic devices is defined as hazardous electronic waste, or e-waste. It’s important to never throw e-waste into the trash; these materials are especially important to recycle. Here’s why:
They have a short useful life. Because of this, there are a lot of electronics piling up in landfills. When these waste materials are ultimately burned, they release greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming.
Electronics are made with materials that can be reclaimed and recycled, including plastic, metal and glass. Reclaiming these resources prevents the need to manufacture more.
They contain toxic elements like mercury, lead and cadmium that are harmful to humans, animals and the environment.
E-waste, however, cannot be included in your curbside recyclables bin like paper, glass and plastic. It must be disposed of separately since the processing for reclaiming and repurposing is vastly different than conventional recyclables. Electronics need to go to specialized recyclers. Some communities hold electronics recycling events where e-waste is collected. Stores that sell electronics will often take e-waste for recycling. Sometimes there’s a small charge associated with e-waste collection. Check out some additional sustainability tips and see how Alpine Bank works to provide environmental leadership in our communities, reduce greenhouse gases and prevent pollution before it happens.
Pete Yang is a senior vice president for Alpine Bank and the co-chair of Alpine's "Green Team." He's based in Aspen, where he handles commercial and consumer loans, with a particular focus on resort financing. He has a keen interest in protecting Colorado's unmatched mountain environment.