Powered by adapters and charging cables, most Americans live constantly plugged in and online. The number of connected devices each household uses has more than doubled since 2019, up to 25 from 11. With so many new gadgets, homeowners are looking for more responsible ways to ditch their used devices. According to a recent study by electronics recycler Sunnking, New Yorkers recycled more CRT (tube) TVs than anything else in 2021.
Sunnking weighed and inspected devices recycled by residents from 15 e-Recycling Events held throughout New York State in 2021. CRT TVs understandably accounted for a majority of the devices when counted by weight, but it was the rest of the list that may surprise some.
Here are the Top 5 Residential Devices Recycled in 2021 by weight:
#1 - CRT Tube TVs and Monitors
Do you remember the old tube TVs? If you have been around for the "ground breaking" age of dialup, you've probably owned one. They're heavy (weighing in anywhere between 20 and 100 lbs.), awkward, and you probably have a few decaying in the basement. They stopped producing these TVs and monitors in the mid-2000s; however, people are still recycling them. These TVs and monitors provide a particularly nasty challenge when recycling. Besides the lead on the inside of their screens, many contain mercury, phosphorus, and other hazardous materials.
#2 - Small Electronics
Look around your house; there are most likely 5-6 electronic devices within reach. Besides the obvious; phone, headphones, and cell phone-related tech, 21% of recycled materials collected at Sunnking events were small electronics. That includes anything with a plug, the dog bowl fountain in the kitchen, or the heated wax melter in your living room. That old blender might be "trash," but that doesn't necessarily mean it belongs in the trash.
#3 - Flat-panel TVs and Monitors
Flat-panel TVs and monitors make up about 17% of all the recycled material from the year's events, but there is no shortage of them in our homes. Flat screens and smart TVs have far surpassed the popularity of #1 on this list. It's only a matter of time before you upgrade from the new 55" smart TV to the newest 55" with Bluetooth that connects up to every Smart Plug in your house. But what do you do with the old one? Well, you can meet some guy from Letgo in the grocery store parking lot and roll your eyes as he haggles the price; or you can recycle it for free.
#4 - Desktop Computers
Work from home culture has increased the need for laptop computers, leaving many needing to ditch those old desktop designs that have reached the end of their lifespan. Desktop computers took up 7.25% of all recycled items from events, making them number 4 on the list—Netflix and Zoom in your pajamas to that meeting that definitely could have been an email. The bulky desktop has become somewhat obsolete. Computers hold sensitive information; what if someone gets ahold of all those pictures of your cat? Or worse, the bank login you saved to the desktop because you can't remember the password. Not something you want in the trash. Recycling those computers allows certified recyclers to properly break down the towers so that no one ever gets ahold of Mr. Bigglesworth's kitty birthday photos, except the shredder.
#5 - Printers
With the purchase of new screens and computers, it's no wonder that residents are tossing their printers. As paper becomes outdated, the need for an in-home printer does too. We store almost all of our photos and documents on our phones. The email has overtaken fax. So while saving the planet from the paper waste monster, it's good to know that you can keep your wallet from the ink cartridge monster as well. Printers made up 6% of the recycled e-waste collected at Sunnking events.