Smart phones. Tablets. Little computers in our watches.

Every year seems to bring a new “It” accessory that changes the needs and expectations of its users.

While advances in technology give consumers the ability to upgrade to newer, sleeker and more energy-efficient products, what about the models that preceded them?

Because of the explosion of growth in the electronics industry, and a short product life cycle, we’re now seeing a rapid escalation in the generation of electronic waste, or “e-waste”.

Implementing a new audio visual system for your company is a large decision. It can be further complicated if your current system is still working, but is outdated or no longer meets your needs.

If you do choose to upgrade, you may be left with the quandary of what to do with your old systems. Just because you’re finished with older electronics units and devices doesn’t mean they have reached the end of their useable life.

Electronics recycling is a great opportunity for people to dispose of all unwanted electronics collected over the years, while at the same time ensuring that this potentially toxins stream of waste is disposed of responsibly and does not take up valuable landfill space. Audio and visual equipment, extension cords, remotes, monitors, all can be recycled at proper e-waste centers and events, or donated to charities that can breathe new life into them.

An electronics recycling rule-of-thumb: If it has a plug or a cord, it can probably be recycled. Electronics contain valuable materials – including copper, gold and aluminium – that can be recycled and used in new products.

The metals contained in circuit boards, like the copper wiring woven throughout and the various steel plates that hold it all together, to be reused to either make new technology or to repair systems already in use.

Recycling these materials prevents the need to extract virgin materials, conserving natural resources. For every 1 million cell phones that are recycled, 35,274 lbs of copper, 772 lbs of silver, 75 lbs of gold, and 33 lbs of palladium can be recovered, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

E-waste is dangerous to deposit into landfills because of the heavy metals contained within their circuitry.

Solid waste landfills are built to handle banana peels, not hard drives, and we are landfilling tons and tons of these hazardous materials together. According to the EPA, 40 percent of lead and 70 percent of other toxins found in landfills – including mercury, cadmium and polybrominated flame retardants – are from electronics, so proper processing is essential.

There are many vibrant programs designed to assist consumers in recycling used electronics products. These programs help place your electronics products into the recycling stream by refurbishing the device or giving it back to the community.

Many televisions, computers, and other electronics are still in good working condition and can be recycled, refurbished or donated to schools and charities.

These efforts benefit both the environment and your community. You can even get tax deductions for donating your working electronics to schools and charities. When working with a reputable company to upgrade your audio visual systems, we can help guide you every step of the way from assessing your needs to dictating the final destination of your previous equipment.

Contact South Central AV to learn more.

To find a recycling center near you, visit E-Cycling Central to see all the locations in your area.