E-waste: Recogido de aparatos electronicos

E-wasteIf your house or office is like mine, you've got some outdated, obsolete computers, vcrs, or dvd players laying around gathering dust. Wouldn't it be great to have an opportunity to dispose of them responsibly? Wouldn't you prefer that this equipment be recycled or even better, refurbished and given a second life?

On June 30th, you'll get just such an opportunity. The Autoridad de Desperdicios Sólidos (ADS) y Reciclaje del Norte is sponsoring a collection of used electronic devices. From 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in the parking lot of the Acuaexpresso de Hato Rey and the entrance to the Coliseo en Recinto Universitario Mayagüez, they will be collecting computers, cellular phones and chargers, video consoles, DVD players, and ink cartridges for printers.

Personally, I have a few machines and cellular phones I'll be taking. For me, I think this is a fantastic idea. Why? Well let's first examine the situation. In Puerto Rico, the accumulation and disposal of these types of electronic devices has increased significantly. According to estimates by the ADS, in 2004 Puerto Ricans improperly disposed of 278 tons of electronic equipment into our landfills. However, in 2006 that number elevated to 693 tons. Still don't think this is a big problem? Well according to the Environment Protection Agency, they estimate that 130 million cellular phones are thrown away every year and over 250 million computers will become obsolete and disposed of in the next 5 years.

As it is with many of our problems, we know that once the problem is out of our sight, it quickly goes out of our mind. We continue to dispose of many things because we believe that once the garbage truck takes them away, it then becomes someone else's problem. While that may be true, we also don't like to face the truth that what goes into the ground can seep into our drinking water, plants, and finally come back to us as poisons. Such is the case with electronic equipment. They contain many chemicals and metals that are freed up when they become refuse. These liberated liquids become contaminants to our water supply in the form of heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, and others.

But the real pity is that we can salvage many of the materials within our electronic equipment. We can reclaim those materials and use them to create other crap we buy, but don't need. Think of the possibilities...

In addition, some of the equipment can actually be saved, repaired, and still have a productive life for someone. The firm Reciclaje del Norte is committed to collecting all of this equipment, repairing what can be repaired, reselling the repaired equipment, and then salvaging the plastic, copper, gold, and other materials in the equipment that must be destroyed.

So mark your calendars and get ready. Sweep your house and office for electronic equipment that is ready to move on. Let it go and send it on its way. And I'll see you there. I'll be the guy crying as they pry my hands from my old dead computers. "My babies...."

Flickr Creative Commons Contributor Today: phauly