Modern prosperity has also brought a large amount of waste along with it. Packaging creates large challenges. Electronics quickly become obsolete adding to e-waste. Even the now encouraged CFL’s are pollutants as they contain mercury. The real solution for lighting is LED but they are still pricey.
It is possible to recover mercury from electronic waste such as fluorescent powder from lamps, batteries, switches, rectifiers but also from sludge, medical and dental waste, powders, catalysts, military waste, and a variety of mercury contaminated metals as well as production waste from various industries.
There are a full range of recycling machines for fluorescent lamps of all sorts (tubes as well as CFL lamps), HID lamps as well as CRT monitors and TV screens.
The recovery and reuse of by-products from lamp waste such as glass, metals, plastics etc. is entirely possible and the materials can be re-used. Lamp recycling equipment and mercury recovery systems can be used to lower the mercury pollution rate around the world.
We encourage all citizens of the earth to engage in activities to create more sustainable homes, offices and communities, by utilizing products that can be reused, recycled or repaired. If we all work together on this effort, we can significantly reduce the waste that goes into our landfills.
The next best option to reducing solid waste altogether is to reuse as many items as possible. Reuse can mean purchasing non-disposable items or it can mean passing an item along to another person for continued use. So, rather than using paper towels to clean the house, you use a washable rag; and, instead of throwing out the clothes or toys your children have outgrown, you pass them along to a neighbor or relative.
Household Hazardous Waste
There are a lot of products that we use every day around our homes, such as batteries, household cleaners, cosmetics and medications, that should be disposed of in a special way. These items are classified as "household hazardous waste", and should never be discarded in a sink, storm drain or in your household trash -- instead the items should be taken to a household hazardous waste collection center. Hypodermic needles, syringes, lancets or other "sharps" that might be used at home for certain medical conditions can be harmful, too, if thrown in the trash – so please safely dispose of these items. Household hazardous waste could potentially contaminate our groundwater with harmful ingredients and poison our water supply.
Electronic discards, or e-waste, is one of the fastest growing segments of our nation's waste stream. In addition, some researchers estimate that nearly 75 percent of old electronics are in storage, in part because of the uncertainty of how to properly dispose of these items.
As technology quickly evolves and new products are outdated almost as soon as they are available for purchase, the need for proper and safe disposal of e-waste is apparent. If products are still in working order or need minor repairs, they should be donated to a school, library, or charity. If they are broken and need to be disposed of, they should be disposed off safely - do not place e-waste with your household trash.
Certain materials, particularly metals, in electronic devices can be salvaged and recycled, and proper handling of e-waste ensures that no harmful materials such as lead will contaminate our landfills or water supply.
E-waste items include
- Cell phones, PDAs, pagers
- Computer monitors
- Computer software disks
- Laptop computers
- Printers/scanners/fax machines
- Stereos/radios/MP3 players or iPods
- Telephones/answering machines
- Televisions (including plasma and LCD)
- VCRs/DVD players
- Video game consoles