For the first time, residential recyclers throughout New York disposed of more flat-panel screens than ever. These results come after an annual study by Sunnking, a national electronics recycler and sustainability expert, showing the category overtaking its heavier counterparts, CRT TVs and monitors, due to total volume.
According to a recent research project, while United States consumers produce roughly 10% less electronic waste by weight than at their peak in 2015, only about 35% is recycled. This issue is because electronic devices may contain hazardous compounds, such as lead and mercury, which can make their way into groundwater as they decompose within landfills. Recycling your discarded electronics with certified recyclers, like Sunnking, effectively prevents hazardous waste from contaminating your water and affecting your community.
The study identified the top five electronics categories that residential customers recycled most in 2023 to give you a clearer picture.
Including PCs and laptops – this category was fifth in line for most-recycled residential electronic waste. This doesn’t come as a surprise as the average computer user replaces their computer every four years. In 2023, Sunnking processed 350,000 pounds of computers for recycling. Considering the sensitive data often contained in personal computers, proper recycling is emphasized here since leaked data can impact you directly if left in the wrong hands.
On previous lists, we grouped monitors with flat-screen TVs when configuring the weight of recycled electronics. This year, however, monitors joined a league of their own and accounted for the fourth most-recycled electronic waste product at 450,000 pounds. Containing small amounts of mercury, keeping these out of the ecosystem is essential to maintaining environmental health.
3) Miscellaneous Small-Scale Electronics
The phone in your pocket, the tablet on your coffee table, the digital camera you haven’t used since 2014, your keyboard, your mouse – all of these and more encompass small-scale electronics coming into our warehouse for recycling. Although this is the third most-recycled item of 2023 at 1 million pounds, this is only a third of the weight of small-scale electronics we recycled in 2022. Who would’ve thought such small devices could make such an enormous impact?
2) CRT TVs
Speaking of enormous, CRT TVs – also known as tube TVs - have historically accounted for the most electronic weight recycled at Sunnking. This is due, in part, to the sheer weight of these units, with each one averaging between 50-200 pounds. The weight of a tube TV starkly contrasts with the modern flat-screen TV, carrying an average weight of 25-30 pounds. With more CRT TVs being discarded, this number has been dwindling. This year, it was the second most-recycled electronic device at 2.5 million pounds.
1) Flat Screen TVs
Finally crowned the most discarded items of the year and straying from previous years, flat-screen TVs outweighed tube TVs last year. Coming in at the top spot on our list, Sunnking recycled 2.6 million pounds of flat-screen TVs by residential customers last year versus the 2.5 million pounds we saw tube TVs bring in. With a consumer desire for bigger and better, flat-screen TVs are often rapidly discarded, accounting for most electronic waste recycled in 2023.
Responsible electronic recycling is essential for protecting sensitive data and contributing to a healthier environment. We all use one or more of these devices regularly and input identifying information about ourselves that could be used to our detriment later. For this reason alone, recycling our devices with certified recyclers, like Sunnking, is more crucial than ever.
The majority of these electronics were collected from more than 100+ local partner drop off sites and from Sunnking's free large-scale collection events. Residential recyclers can find a no-cost drop off location near you or register for a nearby free collection event.