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What Is E-Waste and How Is It Properly Disposed of?

Posted By On November 09 2022
What is e-waste, and how is it properly disposed of?

People often talk about disposing of e-waste safely and securely. However, what exactly is e-waste, and what is so important about how it is disposed of? Let’s take a look at what constitutes e-waste and why proper disposal is so important.

E-waste is the technology that we no longer use or is broken or damaged. The safety part comes from the chemicals used in its creation and operation and your personal information that may be stored on the devices.

This is not limited to cell phones, computers, scanners, and game consoles. E-waste is also electric guitars, amplifiers, smart watches, GPS systems, and TV screens.

The technology that is considered e-waste can be broken down into several categories:

  • Office equipment: This includes computers and monitors, printers, and ink cartridges, as well as scanners, fax machines, and accessories such as keyboards, mice, and hard drives.
  • Communication devices: These include cell phones, corded and cordless phones, headsets, and conference phone speakers.
  • Display systems: TVs, including plasma screens, LCD displays, and e-readers.
  • Portable entertainment systems: These include portable DVD players, game consoles, stereos, earbuds, and speakers.
  • Musical equipment: This involves guitars, amplifiers, keyboards, tuners, electric violins, recording equipment, microphones, and soundboards.
  • Miscellaneous: For example, GPS devices, smart watches, smart glasses, calculators, and certain types of cables. This category also includes remote-controlled devices such as drones or toy cars and planes.

Essentially, anything that requires an electrical charge to operate is considered e-waste once it is no longer useful, damaged, or required due to upgrading.

Preparation Is Key

A lot of e-waste can be disposed of without any preparation, such as amplifiers, scanners, printers, and ink cartridges. However, things like cell phones and computers contain our personal information.

To prevent identity theft, make sure to erase all your data from the devices by doing a factory reset. Even game consoles can hold onto your personal data, including credit card information, so it is vital to ensure you have erased this data as best as possible before disposal.

Other items, such as plasma or LCD screen TVs and monitors, contain chemicals, which, if disposed of in a regular landfill, can cause environmental impacts by leaching into the water supply.

Chemicals such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, and mercury are all commonly used to generate vibrant colours and images on screens, as well as conductive materials in cell phones and other handheld smart devices.

For devices that are battery operated, ensure to remove the batteries prior to disposal. While the item itself may be suitable for recycling or landfill, the batteries used inside will need to be disposed of differently.

This is due to the battery acid contained inside, which can be harmful when exposed to the skin and the environment. Planning ahead can make the task of removing e-waste a lot easier and safer for everyone involved.

Locate Where You Can Take It

With so much technology now being portable and changing constantly, Canadians are upgrading everything all the time, so a lot of what we use now will be disposable within a few years. Thus, e-waste should be recycled where possible.

E-waste that needs to be disposed of must be done properly for health and safety reasons. If you are doing a big renovation or just clearing out a lot of e-waste, there are options for a Toronto bin rental, which will allow you to remove all the technology at once.

Bin rentals in the Toronto area can take all the e-waste and make sure that it is disposed of according to regulations. If any part of the equipment is still in good condition, you may be able to take it to a reuse centre for the parts to be used for other purposes.

Alternatively, contact local schools and donation centres to see if they could use parts or even the item as a whole for projects.

If the item is still usable and just not required anymore, you can consider selling it at a garage sale. Things like keyboards and musical instruments, cameras, and other items can have some monetary value if they still work.

There are some companies that will take back equipment that is no longer required, or that has been upgraded. This is most common in office settings where equipment such as computers and printers are often leased.

Cell phone providers will take in your old phones as part of a trade-in when you upgrade. They will also help to ensure that they transfer your data to the new device and that they successfully remove it from the old one.

If you only have a couple of items to be disposed of, make sure that you take them to a certified e-waste disposal site. This will ensure that everything is taken care of properly and safely.

Protect Yourself and the Environment

Making sure that you and the environment are safe is something to consider seriously. For example, no one wants to share their credit card information unknowingly.

While identity theft is a real concern, the environment can also be impacted if e-waste disposal is not done correctly.

This is not just for the chemicals used in the products but also the materials they made the items from, such as glass, metal and plastic frames, and wiring. Most of these materials can be recycled, so avoiding the landfill where they just get tossed is beneficial.

The team at Scarborough Disposal Ltd. can advise you on the best way to get rid of your e-waste and help with the removal of large volumes of equipment.

With bins in a wide range of sizes, from small 4-yard bins to larger 40-yard bins, we can help you with any renovation project you are undertaking by taking the guesswork out of where the waste needs to go.

Reach out to us today online or call us at 416-265-7979 and let us get you started with the right bin for your needs.

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