Disposing of Universal and Hazardous Waste

Lots of residences and also companies have waste that needs to be thrown away that falls under the classification of “hazardous waste”. Much of this waste is also very common items that you may use in your home or business. Some examples would be batteries and cleaning chemicals. Fortunately, there are numerous facilities and locations that one can take these items where they can be safely gotten discarded. Several recycling facilities accept a significant amount of these items, while some material can only be dropped off at specialized hazardous waste facilities in your county.

The State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) identified the materials listed below as hazardous waste several years ago, but households and small businesses were excluded from complying with the regulation to keep them out of the trash until now. February 9 marks the date after which disposing them in the trash is illegal.

The State refers to the list as “Universal Waste” or “U-Waste” and defines it as electronics (VCRs, cell phones, radios), batteries, mercury thermostats, fluorescent lights, mercury thermometers, and other products containing mercury or other heavy metals. “These materials can endanger public health and harm the environment when improperly disposed,” said DTSC Director Maureen Gorsen. “Our goal is encourage Californians to recycle or properly dispose fluorescent lamps, batteries, thermostats and electronic devices.”

Universal Wastes Include: 

  • Common batteries: 9V, AA, AAA, C cells, D cells and button batteries contain corrosive chemicals.
  • Fluorescent tubes and bulbs and mercury containing lamps:
    They contain mercury vapor, a toxic metal.
  • Thermostats: There is mercury inside the sealed glass switch in old thermostats.
  • Electronic devices: TVs, computer monitors, computers, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios and microwave ovens often contain heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, PCBs, and cadmium
  • Electrical switches and relays: These contain mercury.
  • Pilot light sensors: These often contain mercury.
  • Mercury gauges: These include barometers, manometers, blood pressure and vacuum gauges.
  • Novelties with mercury added: This includes greeting cards that play music when opened, old athletic shoes with flashing lights in the sole, and mercury maze games.
  • Mercury thermometers: These typically contain about a half-gram of mercury.
  • Aerosol cans that are not empty: Aerosol cans labeled TOXIC or FLAMMABLE may not be put in the trash if they are not completely empty.

This is not a comprehensive list, but does contain many of the common items that are disposed of at homes and businesses. It is important that we all do our part to keep these items out of landfills and not throw into the regular trash bins.

Read More Here: Disposing of Universal and Hazardous Waste


Importance of Recycling Electronic Waste

Currently, the amount of waste generated by humans is unsustainable. For example, did you know that 100,000 sea creatures die each year because plastic waste entangled them? Unfortunately, society is exacerbating this problem instead of solving it. More specifically, electronic waste is now a major issue because people do not know what to do with their old TVs, laptops, personal computers, tablets, and game consoles. Sadly, most people discard their old gadgets as soon as a new version of it hits the market.

What Is The Importance Of Recycling Electronic Waste?

Protecting You and Your Community

The World Health Organization claims that e-Waste poses a severe risk to children when they come in direct contact with it. For example, kids can touch toxic substances that are present in this waste including lead, chromium, cadmium, polychlorinated biphenyls, or brominated flame-retardants.

People around these dumping zones may also inhale toxic fumes emitted by this waste. Additionally, some of these poisonous substances find their way into water systems compromising the health of the communities that depend on that water system. Eventually, serious diseases emerge among those living next to these water systems.

You should also note that dumping zones for electronic waste take up a lot of space. In 2000, landfills in the US catered to more than 4.6 million tons of e-Waste. This kind of space would be ideal for building a stadium, school, or a hospital. However, that is only possible if you recycle your electronic waste.

Helping Others and Creating Jobs

Give your old electronics to someone who needs it. For example, you may have a little brother or sister who needs a computer. You may also have a nephew, cousin, distant relative, or a neighbor who wants it. Moreover, charities are always asking for donations especially when it comes to electronic gadgets.

Recycling your e-Waste helps other people by creating employment opportunities for them. Remember, someone has to look for useable materials within the waste. Then another person has to extract these materials. Finally, someone has to assemble them into a new product. That means recycling e-Waste generates employment for many people so why not do it.

Encouraging Electronic Manufacturers to Invest in Eco-Friendly Products

In 2016, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer had 392,305 employees. In 2012, the same company operated eight factories in China alone. These resources would be instrumental in other sectors of the economy. For example, investing in research and development would be an excellent choice. Another good idea is diversifying its portfolio by launching new products. Therefore, recycling electronic waste encourages companies to think outside the box. These firms will adjust to ongoing market trends. That means they will build more recycling facilities than they have now. Additionally, their investments in eco-friendly products will rise.

Reducing the Physical Handling of Electronic Waste in Third World Countries

China banned the importation of electronic waste in 2002. Unfortunately, that government directive bore little fruit because 70% of the world’s e-Waste ends up in China. This waste affects the local communities negatively. For example, consider the communities that live in Guiyu, China. Here, you will find the world’s largest electronic waste dumpsite. The people who work have high levels of dioxin and lead in their blood. Lead stunts growth in babies and adolescents. Dioxin causes developmental and reproductive problems. Recycling electronic waste within the boundaries of this country reduces the volume of e-Waste that goes to such developing nations. Consequently, the reduced handling of electronic waste means that fewer and fewer people will get sick because of e-Waste.

Recycling Help Build a Just and Moral World

Computers consume an enormous amount of minerals. For example, a bit of gold is always necessary for pin plating. Copper is useful as a conductor in these gadgets, and hard disks cannot function without several metals i.e. zinc, magnesium, and aluminum. Moreover, the hard drive requires other minerals such as cobalt, iron, and nickel.

Do you know the source of these substances? In truth, most of the minerals used in building these devices come from third world countries. For example, did you know that the Democratic Republic of Congo produces 60% of the world’s cobalt? Unfortunately, it is an impoverished and war-torn country. Recycling electronic waste reduces the flow of capital into the hands of dictators who exploit their country’s resources for personal gain.

See More Here: Importance of Recycling Electronic Waste

Celebrate America Recycles Day, November 15

The amount of waste Americans generate has been on the rise – from 3.66 pounds per person in 1980 to 4.4 pounds per person in 2013 – but we’re also recycling and composting more. Today we recycle or compost about 34% of our waste, up from less than 10% in 1980.

In 2013, Americans recycled and composted 87 million tons of waste. Keeping waste out of landfills and incinerators reduced CO2emissions by more 186 million metric tons – the equivalent to the annual emissions of 39 million cars – and saved enough energy to power 10 million households for a year.

November 15 is America Recycles Day. Take this opportunity to scour your home, school, or office for unusual items that you don’t need any more but can be recycled:

  • hair care and mouthwash bottles;
  • plastic bags and plastic wrap used to package paper towels, toilet paper, and dry-cleaning;
  • mobile phones, tablets, computers, video game consoles, TVs, and other electronics.


Recycling these items gives them new life. Plastic containers can become new plastic products, carpeting, or car parts. Plastic bags and plastic wrap can become new plastic bags, shopping carts, or fencing and deck materials. Valuable metals from electronics can be used in jewelry, new electronics, and car parts.

Read the full article here:  http://greenlivingideas.com/2016/11/14/celebrate-america-recycles-day-november-15/