E-waste: The importance of discarding responsibly

Old electronics pile

Copyright: Copyright: 123rf/Winai Tepsuttinun

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, electronic waste, also called e-waste or e-scrap, is defined as “used electronics that are nearing the end of their useful life and are discarded, donated or given to a recycler.”

Though electronic waste makes up only 2% of the trash in the United States’ landfills, it makes up 70% of the country’s toxic waste. An even more concerning reality: as these electronics break down over time, their release of flame retardants and other chemicals lead to toxic pollution leaked into our soil and water.

Luckily, there is a way to cut down on the percentage of e-waste in landfills through the recycling of electronic materials. By bringing unwanted or broken electronics to a company that recycles them, the items will be taken apart and the reusable materials inside such as plastic, glass and metals will be separated and reused to make new products.

Recycling items that contribute to toxic waste has benefits for both our planet and the people living on it.


  • Recycling one million laptops can save the energy equivalent of electricity runs 3,657 U.S. households for one year.
  • Recycling one million cell phones allows the recovery 50 pounds of gold, 550 pounds of silver, 20 pounds of palladium and more than 20,000 pounds of copper.
  • Recycling electronics cuts down on the amount of toxic pollution in our soil and water.
  • Recycling aluminum saves 90% of the energy needed to mine new aluminum.


  • Recycling unused, broken or unwanted electronics means less clutter the home or office.
  • Materials gleaned from recycling old electronics can be used to make new electronics.
  • E-waste recycling creates jobs. Computer reuse specifically creates 296 more jobsper every 10,000 tons of material disposed each year.


Some companies will also provide customers the options of shredding electronics brought in for recycling to ensure that any private information stored on them is untraceable.

The types of electronics can be both shredded and recycled:

  • CDs and DVDs
  • Diskettes
  • Super Disks
  • LTO / Ultrium
  • 3480 / 3490/ 3580/ 3570/ 9840/ 9940 Tapes
  • SLR / MLR / DLT
  • Round Reel Tapes
  • Magnus
  • Travan
  • Hard Drives
  • Flash Drives
  • Optical Platters
  • VHS/Beta Tapes
  • Micro Film

If you’re ready to do your part for the Earth by lowering your family or company’s contribution to e-waste, give us a call. ShredRight specializes in hard drive destruction, computer disposal and electronic media destruction, which means we securely shred these items to ensure your private information stays private. Then, we follow our “Green Smart” final disposal guidelines to keep the material out of area landfills. Learn more about our process.