Blog originally published: April 21, 2014
Blog updated: June 7, 2023
Recycling is the process of converting waste into reusable material in order to prevent more waste. It’s probably one of the most important activities we can embark on to make a positive impact in the environment and ourselves. We live in a world where people are constantly changing their electronic devices every year for better and faster models generating more waste that isn’t biodegradable.
But what happens to all the older gadgets? They most likely end up piled up in our closets, garages, or ever worse, in our trash. This not only clutters our homes but it’s also damaging for the environment.
Here are top 3 benefits of electronics recycling:
1. Cleaner Environment
The reduction of e-waste is mission-critical to the health of the environment in which we all live.
According to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020, 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste were generated worldwide in 2019 — up 21 percent over the previous five years. At this rate, e-waste is currently the world’s fastest-growing waste stream.
The problem isn’t just the sheer volume of devices, though: Electronics contain toxic materials, including heavy metals like:
- PVC plastic
- Other hazardous chemicals
When e-waste ends up in a landfill, these toxic substances can contaminate habitats and leach into groundwater, poisoning people, animals, and plant life.
Recycling e-waste is the best way to combat this problem. It saves space in the landfills and prevents the environmental pollution caused by toxins in the surrounding soil and water supply.
Worried about data privacy? When you recycle your electronics, make sure you’re choosing a reputable electronics recycler who can provide you with a certificate of destruction. At Repowered, we’re a certified ITAD vendor that’s R2 certified, so our recycling process ensures all data is properly destroyed.
2. A Stronger Economy
Did you know that there’s $2.8 billion worth of metals in Minnesota’s electronic waste stream every year? And that even though over 266 million pounds of e-waste are available for recycling in the state each year, only 23.7% of it gets captured?
At Repowered, we’re hoping to change that — we know that the more electronic waste that gets recycled, the more we can capture its value and reintroduce it into our local economy. This creates a circular economy that’s beneficial not only for the environment, but for the community.
In addition to keeping electronics out of landfills and saving billions of dollars a year through reusing valuable materials, a circular process has the potential to create more jobs. If 100% of e-waste in Minnesota were to be captured, a recent study found that the projected job creation would be 1,738 direct jobs and a total of 3,345 new jobs.
When you recycle with Repowered, you’re supporting a social enterprise that provides jobs and training for people facing barriers to employment. We believe that everything and every person has value, and that belief fuels everything we do. (More on our Work Readiness Program later).
3. Reuse of Resources
E-waste in landfills isn’t just bad for the environment — it’s a waste of valuable resources. Electronic devices are made up of a mix of high-value elements such as gold, silver, copper, platinum, lithium, and cobalt… all of which can be reclaimed and reused through recycling.
That’s where refurbishing electronics comes in. When you recycle your electronics, you’re giving them the chance to live a second life through the refurbishing process.
You’re also preventing the waste of valuable resources and energy required for electronics manufacturing. The truth is that electronics manufacturing demands a huge amount of energy and raw materials. For example, 70-80% of the emissions a laptop is responsible for throughout its lifecycle comes from the manufacturing process.
A lot of big companies like Apple have their own recycling facilities where they dispose of electronics for future reuse. At Repowered, we believe this is something that all large corporations should strive for.
4. A Repowered Bonus: Fair Chances for Electronics and People
Through our Work Readiness Program, Repowered offers fair chances to individuals with barriers to employment by providing them with hundreds of thousands of employment hours and nearly a million dollars in wages each year.
Through this program, we work with individuals who have a history of incarceration or are in recovery from addiction. People in both situations are more likely to experience barriers to employment, and have a difficult time finding living wage employment.
Our Work Readiness Program not only provides these individuals with living wage employment, but also offers them the tools they need to seek employment outside of Repowered if they so choose. These tools include résumé preparation, interview coaching, and other assistance to make sure there’s no lapse in employment.
When you recycle your electronics with Repowered, you’re not just helping the environment — you’re helping your local community by supporting the reintegration of individuals who would otherwise struggle to find employment and make a living wage.
Want to hear from real people who’ve been a part of our Work Readiness Program? Check out their stories below:
Want To Know More About the Benefits of Electronics Recycling?
For more information on how electronics recycling can benefit you, give us a call at 612-260-9427. If you’re interested in supporting Repowered’s mission, consider making a donation here! Even better, check out our electronics recycling and ITAD services on our website or shop our online store for your next refurbished electronic device. Together, we can provide fair chances for people, planet, and technology!