E-Waste: What You Can and Can't Throw Away

Posted by author Dawn DeVroom on Sat, May 11, 2013
Modern electronics depend on a variety of interacting chemicals and metals to function. Many of these substances pose dangers to humans and animals, but the devices are designed to keep users safe from exposure. Unfortunately, many of these defenses are ineffective once the device has been structurally compromised. As a result, electronic devices often become hazardous waste after disposal. Safe Components: A large number of substances commonly found in electronic devicese-waste are completely harmless. Zinc plating, often found in steel production parts, is generally a harmless substance. Likewise, aluminum is found in most electronic goods and is free of toxic properties. Well known metals like copper and gold, regularly used in computer parts, pose little threat to the environment. Problems arise, however, when these pieces are accompanied by materials that pose contamination risks 
  • Hazardous Devices:  A large majority of electronic devices carry built-in chemical hazards. The sulfur found in batteries can cause permanent damage to the kidney and heart. Fluorescent tubes, such as those found in light bulbs and computer monitors, commonly carry mercury. Health issues related to mercury exposure include muscle weakness, impaired physical development, and memory problems. Companies should also be wary of disposing of computer towers. Internal heat sink components are known to contain large amounts of disease-causing beryllium oxide.
  • Disposal Solutions: Separating safe electronic components from their toxic counterparts can be extremely difficult without proper training. Additionally, attempts at this sorting without proper preparation may prove to be just as dangerous as tossing these parts in the garbage. Working with a trained e-waste removal team like IDR Environmental Services can take these tough decisions out of the hands of your employees. Let our technicians safely separate and recycle e-waste for you.
Some companies try and get away with dumping their electronic waste in dumpsters and trash cans. It can seem like an easy and harmless way to get rid of unwanted items. Poorly trained employees can get your company in a lot of trouble by disposing of these items inappropriately. Companies like Costco and Walgreens have not been immune to employee negligence and substantial fines for government regulators. So understand what e-waste you can and cannot throw away. It could save you a lot of money.
A Step by Step Guide for Handling Hazardous Waste