Before recently graduating from high school, Cody Saltsman served his school’s Key Club as a senior representative. In this role, Cody Saltsman participated in a recycling project that safely recycled roughly 10 tons of electronic material.
According to data from the United Nations, the world produces electronic waste at a rate measured at more than 40 million tons per year. Unfortunately, a large percentage of this waste is collected and then dumped illegally in developing countries. In these countries, workers dismantle discarded electronics in order to extract and sell valuable raw materials like copper and even gold.
However, in the act of dismantling electronic waste, workers expose themselves and the environment to toxic chemicals. For instance, components like cathode ray tubes have lead in them, and when the tubes are broken, the lead can then make its way into drinking water. Moreover, very often these black-market operations burn components like wires and computer chips, producing harmful fumes.
For these reasons, it is important to dispose of electronics through reputable disposal providers. People can find such providers by looking for those with certification from nonprofits like Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also hosts a list of reputable recyclers on its website.