Blog
Recycling Can Blog Image

Recycling is Good— Reusing is Better

Guest Blogger Lorraine Kerwood
Founder & Executive Director, NextStep Recycling

In my previous entry here as guest blogger, I talked about the importance of technology's use in education, and how NextStep reuses old electronics to help disadvantaged community members. Today I want to talk about the effects of re-use on the environment.

More and more we are recycling things we would otherwise throw away— this is great, but could be much better if those things were reused! The environmental cost to produce a computer and monitor is immense, especially for microprocessors. Producing one desktop computer and CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor requires 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 50 pounds of chemicals, and 3,330 pounds of water.* Extending the life of computers is a win for our environment and a win for our community.

You can see the benefits of reuse yourself with the U.S. EPA Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator, which shows environmental savings for computer recycling and reuse in terms of energy, materials, CO2, toxic emissions, and more. Using it, we can see that it is roughly 25 times more beneficial environmentally to reuse computers than to recycle them at three to five years of age. Here are a few examples:

Recycling 100 computers...


  • Saves enough electricity to power 2.75 U.S. households in a year; compared to 68 if those computers were reused.
  • Is the same as removing 1.95 passenger cars from the road per year, compared to 48 if those computers were reused.
  • Reduces air emissions by 142.2 tons, compared to 3,508.7 tons if those computers were reused.

As you can see, the difference in environmental impact between recycling and reusing is huge. Donating your old electronics helps the community and the earth!

Source: Williams, Kuehr; Computers and the Environment, Understanding and Managing Their Impacts

Lorraine Kerwood
NextStep Recycling
2101 W. 10th Ave.
Eugene, OR
Phone: (541) 686-2366
Fax: (541) 686-0577
www.nextsteprecycling.org

Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/hlsfekq
Are You Ready to Start Your Project?