Do you own a veritable trove of old electronics? If so, take some comfort in knowing you’re not the only one who struggles to throw away outdated technologies. For people who recycle, simply tossing electronics in the garbage isn’t so easy. That’s because they know where their once treasured electronics will end up — in a landfill, along with the valuable resources and materials that made them.
The reality is that most electronics can be fixed, rehomed or recycled. Objects like old cell phones, mp3 players and other primitive computers are among the easiest to recycle, and many electronics stores will accept them for free. However, recycling certain home appliances like air purifiers comes with additional challenges, especially in the era of COVID-19. As a result, responsibly disposing of them will likely require a little extra effort on your part.
Ready to finally clean out your electronic stockpile? Keep reading to learn why recycling electronics like air purifiers is so important and how you can do it the right way.
At Air Oasis, we want to create as little waste as possible. That’s why we build high-quality air purifiers that are designed to last and offer replaceable parts and lifetime warranties. Questions? Contact us online or call us at (806) 373-7788.
Why We Should Recycle Electronics
Consumption, especially of electronics, is an American pastime. Even in 2013, before smart electronics were ubiquitous necessities, the average American household used about 28 electronic products such as personal computers, mobile phones, televisions and electronic readers. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of stay-at-home tech, including smart home devices, video game consoles and air purifiers has surged.
As unrelated as the two seem, there’s a direct correlation between purchasing a new laptop and adding to greenhouse gas emissions. That’s not dramatic — it’s just a fact. Many high-tech electronics contain oil, iron, gold, palladium, platinum, copper and other critical elements that must be mined, transported and processed. These processes require tremendous amounts of energy and resources.
Modern landfills are designed to receive specific kinds of waste, including municipal waste, construction debris and hazardous waste. After waste makes its way to a landfill for final disposal, it’s covered up so that hazardous waste doesn’t leak into the environment. As a result, precious metals and other electronic materials that are sent to landfills can never be recovered and reused; they’re permanently cut off from re-entry into the environment. This is a massive loss, not only because it’s wasteful, but because those materials are limited resources.
Recycling Air Purifiers
Recycling a cellphone is a relatively simple endeavor; most electronic store chains have recycling programs that will happily accept the donation. Your air purifier, on the other hand, may be more challenging to recycle.
Whereas a cell phone doesn’t pose much threat to the recycler, air purifiers may contain pollutants they’ve collected over time. That’s why many recycling companies classify them (along with electronics like window ACs) as hazardous household appliances. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of options.
Where to Recycle Air Purifiers
To find a recycler for your air purifier, you’ll probably need to make a few calls. The first thing you should do is call your local sanitation department to see if they can point you in the right direction. If that yields no results, explore the following options:
- Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD). RAD is a voluntary partnership program that works with utilities, retailers, manufacturers and government agencies to dispose of certain appliances according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) standards. Although they work mostly with refrigerated appliances and some air conditioning appliances, they might help recycle your air purifier.
- Specialty recycling companies. With so much waste to contend with, there’s a big demand for specialty recycling companies. New companies like TerraCycle are fantastic resources for disposing of hard-to-recycle items.
- Certain scrap yards. Some scrap yards break down products and appliances according to EPA standards for disposal. Call your local scrap yard to see what they can do with air purifiers or if they have any suggestions.
If you can’t find a place that will break down and recycle your air purifier, don’t give up. Recycling isn’t the only way to keep your air purifier from a landfill. You can also rehome your air purifier by donating it to someone else. Although appliance donation centers may be hesitant to accept used air purifiers during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can give it to someone directly if they accept the risks.
Ways to Reduce Electronic Waste
Recycling is just one way to reduce waste, and it’s not perfect. Although it uses much less energy than sourcing materials and manufacturing new products, recycling still requires significant energy, the amount of which varies depending on the material. These tips will help you avoid needing to recycle a product in the first place:
- Buy with intention. Get into the habit of asking yourself how long you intend to keep the item you’d like to purchase and how you’ll dispose of it when you’re finished with it. If you don’t intend to keep it for long and don’t know how you’ll dispose of it, you may want to reconsider the purchase.
- Repair rather than replace. Commit to trying to fix a device when it breaks instead of categorizing it as junk. Ordering a replacement part is more sustainable than buying a whole new device.
- Prioritize modifiable products. Don’t buy electronics that are designed to become obsolete as soon as the newer model comes out. Find alternatives that allow for modifications, upgrades and updates.
- Reuse/refurbish/rehome. You may not want a particular electronic device anymore, but that doesn’t mean that no one wants it. Ask your friends and family if they could benefit from it or find a place to donate it.
- Understand the environmental impact. Ignorance to the realities of climate change and environmental degradation isn’t a viable excuse for people with the internet. You have the responsibility to learn about how your consumer choices affect the planet.
Recycling isn’t the only way to protect the environment; making smart consumer choices goes a long way, too. When you’re shopping for a sustainable air purifier, make sure you buy from an environmentally friendly company that offers replacement parts and lifetime warranties.
Air Oasis Air Purifiers
At Air Oasis, we pride ourselves on making superior air purifiers. However, that doesn’t mean our purifiers never encounter any problems. To mimizine waste and avoid obsolescence, we make it easy for our customers to order replacement parts from our website. We also offer lifetime warranties for both our iAdaptAir® HEPA Purifier and IonicAir™ UV Purifiers.
If you’re ready to buy an air purifier that lasts a lifetime, you’ve come to the right place. Questions? Feel free to reach out to us online or give us a call at (806) 373-7788.