The manufacturing of these devices and the use of rare materials that go into their production represent a huge source of embodied energy. Minimizing e-waste helps to conserve resources and reduces the amount of energy we take from the earth.
Reusing the precious metals and plastics in old cell phones alone instead of making or mining more of them would save as much energy as flipping off the power to 24,000 US homes for an entire year. The typical American household has 24 electronic devices and in 2009 the EPA estimated that there is 2.37 million tons worth of electronics ready to be disposed of. This would fill almost five football stadiums!
- Re-evaluate. Do you really need that extra gadget? Try finding one device with multiple functions.
- Extend the life of your electronics. Buy a case, keep your device clean, and avoid overcharging the battery.
- Buy environmentally friendly electronics. Look for products labeled Energy Star or certified by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT).
- Donate used electronics to social programs—and help victims of domestic violence, children safety initiatives, environmental causes, and more. Ask your student REP for a postage-paid mailer for your cell phone or ink cartridge. For each item received, the World Wildlife Fund will receive one dollar.
- Reuse large electronics.
- Recycle electronics and batteries in e-waste recycling bins located around campus. Large electronics can go in the larger bins found in your building