E-waste, or electronic waste, is one of the biggest dangers facing the environment today. Almost 10 million tons of unwanted, outdated, or nonfunctioning electronics are dumped into U.S. landfills every year. Yasir Nawaz, digital content producer at PureVPN, stated “It’s fascinating how wasteful we can be, especially when there are so many items that we can easily recycle.”

You may not realize it, but much of the technology you use in your everyday life contains toxic substances. When not properly recycled, all that hazardous waste ends up seeping into our natural resources. It finds its way into the air we breathe and the water we drink, and ultimately it finds its way into us. The results? E-waste’s effects on the human body are varied and include such life-threatening conditions as cancer, neurological disease, lead poisoning, respiratory illness, organ damage, and more.

So then, why don’t more people donate their unwanted tech to e-waste recycling programs or use professional disposal services like Newtech Recycling? After all, scheduling a pick-up is fast and easy, and our New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection-approved recycling facilities not only keep toxic e-waste from contaminating the earth but also harvest valuable components that can be reused in the manufacture of newer, better technology.

In many cases, people don’t realize what kinds of items count as e-waste. Even worse, they don’t realize how poisonous the materials inside those items really are. Here, then, are ten everyday objects you may not realize have a huge impact on the environment. Next time, instead of throwing them in the garbage can, recycle these items. Mother Earth will thank you.

Mobile Devices

Smart phones, tablets, portable media players, and PDA devices are among the most popular consumer electronics available today. They’re also among the most replaced. Phones in particular are often replaced with newer, fancier models long before their usefulness has ceased. More than 350,000 smart phones are disposed of every day. Luckily, proper phone and tablet recycling can help keeps such harmful materials as mercury, cadmium, chlorine, and bromine out of landfills.

TVs & Computer Monitors

The bigger the device, the harder it is to get rid of. That’s why televisions and computer monitors often end up in places they don’t belong. Older CRT TVs and monitors are especially deadly, with large amounts of phosphor dust and up to eight pounds of lead, but newer models have their own dangers. Researchers have found that modern LCD TVs contain approximately 100 potentially toxic chemicals, while LED TVs contain hazardous waste substances like arsenic, lead, nickel, and copper, as well as a type of flame retardant linked to various developmental disorders.

Household Appliances

Microwaves, refrigerators, air conditioners, and toasters might not be the first things you think of when you think of modern technology. And, admittedly, they’re nowhere near as advanced as computers and cell phones. But all of these household appliances, plus many more, are just as environmentally hazardous. The fluorinated hydrocarbons in your fridge and air conditioner can cause arrhythmia and other heart conditions, while the beryllium in your microwave and toaster can damage your lungs permanently.

Office Equipment

Recycling old photocopiers, fax machines, scanners, and printers might seem like a lot of work, especially when you work in an office that uses a lot of them. At Newtech Recycling, we do our best to make it easier, offering on-site electronic pick-ups so you can rest easy. And resting easy is something you can definitely do knowing that the antimony, barium, cadmium, lead, bromine, and other substances contained in those devices won’t end up contaminating the soil, air, or water

Power Tools

Much like household appliances, power tools aren’t usually associated with e-waste, which is often associated with IT equipment and mobile devices. E-waste is just what the name implies, however, electronic waste, and that definitely includes power tools. Whether it’s a cordless drill, reciprocating saw, belt sander, heat gun, or nail gun, if it’s portable then it likely uses a battery that contains nickel, cadmium, and/or lithium, not to mention copper or aluminum wiring and other metallic components.

Wires & Cables

Many of us know what it’s like to end up with all kinds of miscellaneous wires and cables. Whether it’s a bunch of old USB, HDMI, or RCA cords, these things often end up sitting in the bottom of some drawer in our entertainment centers, doing nothing but collecting dust. If you plan to get rid of them in the process of decluttering, though, donate or recycle instead of just throwing them out. Most wires and cables contain harmful lead compounds, as well as reusable copper and aluminum.

Hard Drives

Proper hard drive and server disposal are among the most important e-waste recycling practices for both businesses and individuals alike. Why? Because not only do computers contain numerous hazardous waste substances, they also store all manner of sensitive data. That includes everything from private correspondences to banking information and medical records. Even wiping your computer isn’t enough to stop a skilled hacker from recovering that data. Only a professional hard drive shredding service like Newtech Recycling can guarantee your personal information stays safe.

Electronics Accessories

Once you’ve taken care of your hard drive and your monitor, you might think your computer recycling days are done. Think again. Computer accessories such as your speakers, mouse, and keyboard contain many of the same heavy metals and pollutants. That’s equally true for other kinds of electronics accessories, such as phone chargers, video game controllers, and wireless headphones. Recycle these items to help keep lithium, chlorine, lead, and other poisons.

Fluorescent Lamps

You’ve probably heard that fluorescent lights are hazardous to your health, but you may not have heard why. A big reason is because of the mercury they have inside. Mercury is an extremely deadly toxin that can damage many vital organs, including the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and lungs. Fluorescent bulbs are doubly dangerous because of how fragile they are. When one breaks, it doesn’t just snap cleanly into two pieces, but often creates a puff of glass “powder” that is all too easy to inhale.

Medical & Lab Equipment

Despite all the hazards that come with using it irresponsibly, technology has the potential to make all of our lives better. Nowhere is that dichotomy embodied better than in medical and lab equipment. These devices keep us healthy and help us develop new medicines. Without taking appropriate lab equipment recycling practices into consideration, though, they can do just as much bad as good, thanks to their frequent use of phthalates, flame retardants, mercury, and other components.