How Recycling Works

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Recycling History

Although recycling may seem like a modern concept introduced with the environmental movement of the 1970s, it’s actually been around for thousands of years. Prior to the industrial age, you couldn’t make goods quickly and cheaply, so virtually everyone practiced recycling in some form. However, large-scale recycling programs were very rare — households predominantly practiced recycling.

The mass production of the industrial age is, in many ways, the very reason we need to worry about large-scale recycling. When products can be produced (and purchased) very cheaply, it often makes more economic sense to simply throw away old items and purchase brand new ones. However, this culture of “disposable” goods created a number of environmental problems, which we’ll discuss in detail in the next section.

In the 1930s and 40s, conservation and recycling became important in American society and in many other parts of the world. Economic depressions made recycling a necessity for many people to survive, as they couldn’t afford new goods. In the 1940s, goods such as nylon, rubber and many metals were rationed and recycled to help support the war effort. However, the economic boom of the postwar years caused conservationism to fade from the American consciousness [source: Hall]. It wasn’t until the environmental movement of the 1960s and 70s, heralded by the first Earth Day in 1970, that recycling once again became a mainstream idea. Though recycling suffered some lean years — due to public acceptance and the market for recycled goods not growing — it has generally increased from year to year.   The success of recycling traces to wide public acceptance, the improved economics of recycling and laws requiring recycling collections or enforcing recycled content in certain manufacturing processes.

Grabianowski, Ed. “How Recycling Works” 17 August 2007. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/recycling.htm> 22 January 2015.

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Saving the Environment with the Three Rs of Electronics

News & Events

Establishing an environmentally conscious organization is about more than carpooling to work, using less paper, or changing the power settings on the office computers. Going green can actually go as deep as re-evaluating your company’s purchasing habits which can translate to savings.

There are many ways to make sure that your office stays current on the best ways to help the environment while saving money at the same time. Here are three specific approaches that can be used right now to help in accessing new opportunities and reducing expenses while also reducing your companies emissions:


Reduce, reduce, reduce – this term is pretty much a no-brainer when talking in terms of the environment, but when looked at in a different light, the term itself might take on a new value. Instead of only thinking about the amount of electricity used and the emissions involved, think of reducing the number of physical resources needed. If you can do this, you’ll not only lower emissions but your company’s overhead as well.

Take advantage of the technology that is being developed to its fullest; in other words, use your devices until they become obsolete and look into new options regularly. The first part of that statement is self-explanatory; the second just might be a step beyond what is already being done.

For example, options like virtualization and the cloud will definitely help in reducing the physical resources needed to get the job done. Virtualization is an excellent resource in that it utilizes the physical servers you already have to their full potential. Instead of purchasing multiple servers to run multiple applications, virtualization will streamline the power you currently have and allow for multiple applications to be run on the same server. This not only saves the money that would initially be spent on purchasing new servers but also saves emissions that come with physically manufacturing, shipping, and running them.

The cloud does something similar in terms of savings. With the cloud, your organization also doesn’t need to purchase or manage additional infrastructure like servers, operating systems and special programs, because a cloud provider can take care of it for you. Since operating costs for many organizations are consolidated in one location, cloud data centers are often more efficient than in-house data storage. With the cloud, you also pay only for the storage that you need, which will likely save you money in the long run.


Purchasing refurbished laptops or servers is one of the smartest ways to save money and help the environment. In essence, refurbished laptops are recycled laptops. That may sound unfavorable or cheap, but think of it this way; does recycled paper perform in any way less in comparison to non-recycled paper? Absolutely not! This is exactly the way that refurbished desktops, servers, and laptops should be viewed.

These computers go through rigorous testing processes to meet specifications just as the product new from the box; they sport the exact same technology and actually come 50 to 70% cheaper. In fact, refurbished computers often have fewer problems than their brand new counterparts, since they have been personally reviewed and inspected by a trained technician.

Aside from obvious company savings, purchasing refurbished desktops and servers is also an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint. It takes energy to build new tech appliances, this energy adds up over time. If more companies across the board would consider purchasing used or previously opened materials (that, in essence, are as good as new) the number of emissions emitted would drop drastically.


Making an effort to impress upon the organization that your expectation is to always recycle appropriate materials can be very effective in the long run. Recycling your used electronics cuts down on the carbon footprint created by your organization but also deepens the mindset and helps define the culture within. There are many advantages to the environment that come with recycling your company’s tech items.

When items like these are recycled, the raw materials used to make them—plastic, glass, metals, etc.—are able to be re-utilized instead of produced. When it’s time to update your technology, make sure your organization takes pride in donating or reusing the equipment you already have.

You would be surprised by how much your company can save and how much of a difference can be made by simply re-evaluating some simple processes. Be sure to follow the three Rs when looking to make a change for the better in saving time, money and the environment.

What environmentally conscious initiatives is your business implementing?

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Most Retailers Flunked Our New Report Card on Electronics Recycling

News & Events

Today we are releasing our first Report Card on the electronics retailers and their programs (or lack thereof) to help us recycle our old electronics. Staples, Best Buy, and Office Depot got the highest marks, as all three have robust programs that let consumers bring our items back to their stores for recycling.

But we gave F’s to nine of the 16 retailers we reviewed for having no real program. This includes retail giants like Walmart, Sams Club, Amazon, and Costco.

Another four, including Target and Radio Shack, got Ds for having limited programs.

Office Max was somewhere in the middle, mostly requiring people to mail products back, but notably taking printers and laptops back at their stores for recycling.

Retailers need to do their part

It’s time for these retailers to step up and start taking some responsibility for their role in the e-waste problem. They are selling us billions of dollars in electronics, but most are doing nothing to help us recycle them.

Walmart sold over $20 billion in electronics in the U.S. in 2012. They have 3742 stores, in all 50 states. Millions of people are buying their electronics there. Imagine if these were also recycling collection centers, that would be a big boost to the current e-waste collection infrastructure, especially in states with no e-waste recycling law.

Many of the retailers, including Walmart, tout their trade in programs, where you can mail back used items and get store credit. But the first problem is that they only take the small stuff that they can make money from (phones, tablets, cameras, etc.) and they don’t take the low value stuff that people really need help recycling – TVs, monitors, printers, VCRs, DVD players and other stuff you plug into your TV. And second, these are mail back programs. Most people won’t mail back anything but the very smallest stuff like phones. So it’s not surprising that these companies won’t disclose the volumes coming back from their mail-back trade in programs. It can’t be much. Retailers need to do what Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot have done, and use their stores as e-waste collection centers. It should be just as easy for us to recycle our old stuff as it is to buy the new stuff.

The EPA released new figures recently that show that our recycling rates have increased, but we are still only recycling about 25% of the electronics that people are getting rid of. The rest is still going into the trash. The retailers are in an excellent position to help here, since that’s where we are buying most of these products.

We’d like to see the retailers partner with some of the manufacturers, particularly the TV companies, who always struggle to create collection opportunities for their recycling programs.

But we don’t just want to focus on the brick and mortar retailers. The online guys also need to step up. Amazon is the number #3 electronics retailer, selling $19 billion in electronics last year. True, it’s a more difficult proposition for them, since they don’t have stores. But Amazon has figured out how to set up a whole network of locker delivery locations, by partnering with various other retailers, including Staples, Rite Aid, Ace Hardware, and Seven Eleven. They could do the same kind of partnering to help their customers recycle their old electronics.

As consumers, we should give our business to the retailers who are doing the right thing, and helping us recycle. Why should we support the laggards, who are sitting on the sidelines and letting Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot do all the work?

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Laptop Recycling for Beginners!

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They say old is gold. Well, there isn’t much to argue about because even a tech geek can extract a lot of valuable stuff out of his old, worn out, computers and laptops. Once a laptop stops working, it is discarded in a regular bin. Those who opt for the careless option, not only choose to harm the environment but also lose a good opportunity to minimize the need for the continuous production of virgin resources.

Laptop Disposal and Recycling

There are various laptop manufacturers and each of them assembles this electronic device in a unique way. Therefore, it’s not possible to provide guidelines for individuals interested in removing specific parts nor is there any use of keeping old parts for future use because they won’t fit in the upgraded models. You can search for the laptop recycling methods or the online manual of the manufacturer, though. There may actually be some video tutorials available which can teach you how to access the useful material inside a laptop.

Parts that should be disposed in a laptop:

Power supplies, Battery packs, and LCDs are the most sensitive parts which cost almost as high as purchasing a new product. LCDs especially should not be dumped just like that. They need to be properly disposed by individuals and corporations.

If the device or any part of it is broken then it is wiser to dispose them off rather than getting it repaired. It will also be wastage of time if you try to sell them off in the market. Similarly, don’t get them trashed either because they pose a threat to our environment. Instead, send them to a professional recycling facility such as Recycle USA, Inc.

Benefits of laptop recycling:

A laptop owner not only shows a sense of responsibility by contacting a registered recycler; he also adheres to the state law by doing it. Apart from the obvious monetary and environmental benefits, here are some other pointers you should keep in mind.

• Keeps The Budget In Check:

Many parts of your laptop are reusable even after being worn out.  Things like your lappy’s RAM, CMOS battery, and optical drive can be reused with external USB enclosures or kept as backups for times of emergency.

• Cashing In On Your Device:

Even broken laptops contain many valuable parts. If you can identify those parts, you can sell them off to earn some extra cash. If you simply want to replace your system, consider upgrading it. You can also replace certain parts and sell off the unwanted ones.

• How to choose a company for laptop recycling?

As the need and awareness grow, many firms are springing up to handle the situation. Problem is, not all of them are registered or qualified enough to deal with this decently. They neither provide secure destruction of sensitive data nor an easy process for the convenience of the customers.

To choose the most appropriate recycling service contractor, here is what you need to know:
• Check the list of available recycling vendor in your area.
• Find the one who is certified and recognized by the State.
• Check for the one providing an easy process. Some companies provide free pick and drop service to collect your e-waste.

Laptop recycling is important and it’s time we took the electronic waste issue seriously. What is your company’s stance on this issue? Please drop your comments and suggestion in the space given below.

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Top Most Benefits of LCD Monitor Recycling

News & Events, Recycling Acts & Stats ,

LCD-Monitor-RecyclingOne of the best environmental friendly practices is the proper – and I mean ‘proper’ – recycling of old monitors and LCD screens which need an upgrade or downright replacement. Now most people think that just throwing out the decrepit stuff is enough to keep their personal space empty and clean. This approach is essentially wrong.

Eventually, we all come to an understanding of Justin Timberlake’s song “what goes around comes back around.” Or perhaps, we could explain it differently that it is nature paying back to us with what we threw at it in the past.

If you didn’t get my philosophical reflection, just don’t give up yet and read on till the end. You can get back to me with your questions or opinions in the space reserved for your comments.

Why is LCD Monitor disposal so important?

Until and unless a user understands the dangers he is exposed to in his environment – because of an unusable device such as a worn out monitor or LCD – he won’t be able to improve his own getting-rid- of-eWaste practices. I don’t wanna give a long lecture, so just mentioning a few points one could easily remember. Here you go: • LCD screen contains mercury which can be found in the small back light within the LCD monitor. It can be processed to safely recover the mercury. • Each LCD monitor is evaluated to see if it can be refurbished and sold further to minimize the need for fresh production or usage of virgin material. • If thrown away without proper disposal, CRT monitors and LCDs contain dangerous materials such as phosphorous, cadmium and mercury which has the ability to spread in open air.

What is the process?
What Is The P

The process is simple yet requires expert and secure services for a complete disposal of electronic device. For recycling, we provide facilities in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Washington DC, and Connecticut for free. In our processing facilities, these screens are first dismantled and then recycled into basic commodities. Actually, the process is rather fascinating if you are a material junky like us. Let me take you through it in more detail:

When the monitors and LCD screens are collected from the customer, they are first sent to a facility where usable material is sorted among the unserviceable stuff. After that, it is sent to various departments to be sorted further and most of the elements (e.g. metals, such as, copper and steel) are smelted down and turned into raw material. Lead is extracted from smelted glass. Once the useful material is in raw form, it is then sent to another place to be given a new form, such as of a fresh product or a component to create something new.

How beneficial or harmful is it for a company?

Recycling monitors and screens are beneficial for companies if they work with goodwill towards the betterment of environment. By stripping the devices of the dangerous materials and disposing everything off lawfully, companies not only build credibility in the hearts of the customers but also in the corporate world. Opting for an environment friendly business practice is the least you can do for humanity.

Interesting facts about LCD Monitor Disposal
Top Most Benefits of LCD Monitor Recycling

• To manufacture a monitor screen, it takes about 48 pounds of chemical, 539 pounds of fossil fuel, and nearly 1.5 tons of water. • Most of the stuff considered “e-waste” does not qualify as waste material. It is, in fact, reusable and marketable in parts or whole immediately. • About 85 per cent devices are disposed in landfills, which assists in the release of toxics into the air.


All in all, it is advisable to every individual and corporation to opt for a professional electronic and IT recycling process. If you are one of the responsible citizens of Earth, tell us what you would do for a secure disposal of hazardous materials or share your story of e-waste recycling with us. If it’s inspiring, we might just feature it in one of our future posts.

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