March 10, 2003
by Lynsey Paulo
Sacramento-- As technology advances, more and more of our consumer electronics become obsolete. So, what do you do with that old television, computer, or cell phone that's sitting in the closet?
Computers and other electronics are dropped off at the Sacramento recycling and transfer station each day. From here, the material will go to the Sacramento Central Processing Facility, where it will be demanufactured.
Materials like glass and plastic will be separated out for recycling. But the Environmental Protection Agency says, more than 3 million tons of e-waste end up in landfills each year.
Eventually that lead in TV sets over a long period of time leeches into the ground water and becomes a problem. Hewlett-Packard wants to be part of the solution, and created an e-waste recycling plant.
HP takes apart the computers. Monitors, which contain lead in their CRT's or cathode ray tubes, are disassembled, allowing the CRT glass to be recycled. Workers load the remains onto an elevator and they're dropped into a giant paper-shredder like grinder. Smaller pieces are sifted through for other recyclables.
HP processes about 3 million pounds each month. Most of it is their own equipment, but some is consumer electronics. And the EPA hopes other businesses will do the same, helping consumers keep their wallet, and the planet green.
Electronics are made of valuable materials, like steel, glass and plastic. But the EPA says only one in ten of us recycled our old computers in 2001.
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