Credit: detsang @ Flickr

Lurking in the landfills of the United States are a multitude of hazardous materials. Maybe that's already obvious even to those least aware of environmental dangers. However, the culprits that many may not be aware of are our technological best friends. 

Cell phones, VCRs, old televisions, desk top and lap top computers along with a number of other electronic devices are major contenders in the environmental war killing our home planet. Electronic devices contain such hazardous materials as cadmium, lead, and arsenic. Obviously, chemicals such as these need to be kept in check. 

California passed the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003. This act has made a significant difference to educate the public about how to properly dispose of such electronic devices. In the US, there are believed to be thirty million cell phones that are not properly discarded. Thanks to the initiative taken by the state of California, since 2003, a great deal of awareness has come to light. 

There is an alarming amount of potential damage being done to the environment through cell phones, televisions,computers, fax machines, old VCRs, and any other electronic devices which are no longer viable for use. 

According to Green UP USA, "A desktop computer and monitor weigh an average of 53 pounds and require 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 50 pounds of chemicals and 3,330 pounds of water to make."  Considering the number of computers alone that will lose viability every year as technology advances, this is an alarming fact. 

Eco-conscious people may have had no idea how much damage they have been doing to the environment by simply throwing that old cell phone or computer tower from 1999 in the trash. Awareness equals change for those interested in reducing their carbon footprint. 

If you don't want that old television or cell phone to become a villainous item eating away the Earth's natural resources, there is a way to start making changes now. 

Below are some ways to reduce the damage done by these retired devices:

  • Storing these items is also pointless because there are many recyclable materials in them. Though letting them sit in an attic or a closet is less harmful than tossing them to the landfill, why not recycle what can be recycled? If you are environmentally conscious enough to recycle plastic, recycle electronics.
  • Do not throw away a television with cathode ray tubes in it. Find a place that will take these devices and either properly dispose of it or refurbish it to continue its viability. This can be done with any electronic device you may be concerned about.
  • One way to find an e waste drop off place is through this site: http://www.ewaste-dropoff.com. This site can tell you where in your area you can dispose of your e waste.
  • Upgrade your computers as long as you can. This is in keeping with environmentally conscious philosophy, so just apply it to your PC, laptop, or mac. It doesn't matter which side of that fence you ride, just keep it green.
  • When the gaming you enjoy so much forces you to get the newest computer system, consider donating to charity the older computer that won't allow you to play Halo as well as the one waiting at Best Buy for you. That way you can do something good for the less fortunate and the environment.
  • Volunteer for Green UP USA with any of your skills that may be useful. Maybe you'll even meet the love of your life while you are doing something good for the world.