By Scott Weislow
In the roughly 20 minutes that it takes me to write this, Best Buy will recycle 8,000 pounds of electronics. That’s four tons – the bulk of an adult rhino.
An equally giant task is making it easy for you to get rid of your old gear. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream on the planet, yet less than half of all Americans even know they can recycle their old electronics.
Those people who do know about Best Buy’s free recycling services often ask me, “Why bother?” Well, this complicated process starts with the very simple belief that it’s the right thing to do for our employees, customers and communities.
Here are the six reasons I give them:
1. More than 7 billion pounds of e-waste is generated in the U.S. each year, and that amount is growing rapidly year after year.
2. Electronics contain hazardous substances, like lead solder and mercury-containing bulbs such as those found in many flat panel TVs, which contaminate our environment and are harmful to human health.
3. The cost and energy spent mining raw materials far exceeds the cost and energy consumed to recycle and reuse these resources from old products.
4. Some precious metals used to make cell phones and other electronic devices are mined in war-torn regions under harsh and inhumane conditions. By recycling these materials and eliminating the need to mine new products from these troubled locations, we can all work to end the inhumane working conditions.
5. Recycling creates jobs right here across the U.S.
6. Old becomes new, with plastics reused for toys, gardening tools, decking material and lawn furniture. Flat panel TV glass can be re-purposed as digital watch faces or help create road construction grading material. Non-ferrous/precious and ferrous metals are re-born as new electronics, jewelry, wiring, construction materials such as steel girders, beams and tools, and nails/screws. Some metals even make their way back in the automotive industry as well as body panels or other auto components.
So the next time you’re digging in a box, drawer or closet and discover that forgotten cellphone, dead VHS player or jumble of cables and cords, remember that Best Buy will do the hard part for you.
And chances are your local Best Buy store is less than 15 minutes away.
So please stop by. We’ll all be better for it.
*For more on Weislow’s goals for recycling electronics, check out the video below.