The Dirty Truth about Happens When Electronics Get Tossed in the Trash

The Dirty Truth about Happens When Electronics Get Tossed in the Trash

Many people are guilty of throwing electronics away instead of going through the proper channels of recycling. Sometimes it’s a matter of convenience. Other times, people just don’t know what to do with their old TV or phone.

It might seem harmless enough. After all, how much harm could one little cell phone sitting in a landfill do to the world?

It turns out, quite a bit. Every TV, phone, radio, air conditioner, and other electronic equipment pieces that end up in a landfill causes irreparable harm to the environment and the people, animals, and plants nearby.

Here’s a closer look at what really happens when electronics get casually thrown away, along with some alternatives to junking electronics when they reach the end of their lifecycle.

How Electronics Break Down in thfue Dump

The first thing to know is that there are a lot of chemicals inside electronics that break down when they end up in a landfill. This is often referred to as e-waste and includes toxins like arsenic, lead, and mercury.

Over time, those chemicals breakdown inside of the equipment. When that stuff eventually leaks out, it ends up in our ecosystem, causing damage to plants, animals, and water sources.

Sometimes, landfills will burn dumped electronics in an effort to get rid of the e-waste. It might seem like a reasonable solution, but this can be just as problematic as letting the e-waste pile up. The problem with this method is that all the toxins, along with the plastics, metals, and glass that make up electronic goods, are incredibly harmful to the environment. Their emissions get leaked into the atmosphere during the incineration process and can harm people, plants, animals, and the Earth’s ozone layer.

The good news is that there are steps consumers can take to minimize the amount of e-waste that ends up seeping into the ground.

Alternatives to Dumping Electronics

The first alternative to trashing old electronics is to recycle them. By taking old TVs, radios, phones, and air conditioners to a recycling plant, there is a far better chance that e-waste will be responsibly recycled or, in some cases, repurposed.

Another option is to get electronics repaired or serviced instead of automatically getting rid of them when they stop working. This can extend the product’s lifespan and keep it from needing to be recycled for longer.

Finally, the best way to reduce the amount of e-waste in landfills is to buy refurbished electronics instead of always going for the newest model. For example, refurbished air conditioners include recycled components and are expertly put together to operate as good as new units. They have the added benefit of being significantly more friendly to the environment and come at a lower price point than brand new electronics.

Many reputable companies recognize the impact that e-waste has on the environment and are starting to sell refurbished goods. An example is, which offers refurbished air conditioners that operate as good as new units. Each unit goes through rigorous testing and quality control before getting sold, and the company will give customers a replacement unit if the one they buy malfunctions at any point during the first year.

Challenge Accepted: Buy Refurbished Instead of New

An easy challenge for 2020 is to commit to buying refurbished Products instead of new electronics the next time the need arises. If every consumer replaced just one of their electronics with a refurbished model instead of buying a new one, there would be far fewer electronics sitting in landfills, and the planet would be healthier.

For consumers looking to make a difference, buying refurbished goods is a great place to start. As more companies step up to make it easier for consumers to purchase quality refurbished goods, it will be easier than ever for consumers to make a small change that causes a significant environmental impact.