Video Game Console Recycling

electronic recycling

Nothing gets hardcore gamers more excited than upgrading to brand-new consoles. The new Xbox Series X has already sold millions of consoles globally, and PlayStation® has already announced the release of the PlayStation® 6 within the next two years. With new consoles coming out almost every year from one or more of the major video game companies, these companies are, unfortunately, heavy contributors to the ongoing electronic waste (e-waste) issue.

E-waste contaminates the soil, water, and air with toxic chemicals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. In addition to environmental damage, chemicals from e-waste are also known to cause cancer, nervous system damage, miscarriages, and childhood developmental delays. 

To combat e-waste, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other organizations are urging companies and individuals to recycle and/or sell/buy back old video game consoles instead of throwing them away. 

Recycling video game consoles not only helps reduce e-waste, but also helps decrease greenhouse gasses and environmental damage caused by the mining and manufacturing of metals needed to make electronic devices. 

Recyclable Components of a Gaming Console

Most components in a gaming console can be recycled and reused to manufacture a variety of electronic devices. For example, a gaming console provides wires, cables, circuit boards, plastics, processing units, and processors to manufacturers who can then refurbish the items to manufacture new gaming consoles, cell phones, and other digital devices.

Gold, lead, copper, and other precious metals that are recycled from video game consoles can also be extracted and melted down for inclusion in valuable materials. Most of these precious metals are located within a console’s circuit board. Additionally, recycled plastics from a console can be melted down and reused.

Although video game discs do not contain enough aluminum for recycling purposes, they can still be properly destroyed and disposed of at a video game console recycling center. Never throw discs into a landfill as they can leach chemicals into the soil for up to a decade.

Benefits of Recycling

The primary benefit of gaming console recycling is the reduction of e-waste.

Although the amount of e-waste ending up in landfills has declined in recent years, there is still an unprecedented environmental calamity impacting the viability of our ground, water, and air. In fact, the chemicals that are leached out of console components cause in-ground decay that takes decades, or in some cases, a century to complete. 

The National Ocean Service also reports that if every household in the U.S. reduced its e-waste output by one half, over 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide would be prevented from polluting the atmosphere. Recycling all discarded electronic devices could also further reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 355 million metric tons annually.

Reusing or recycling video game consoles, controllers, and discs also helps significantly reduce the amount of fossil fuel energy needed to manufacture new gaming consoles and associated components.

Other Ways You Can Reduce E-Waste

In addition to recycling your gaming consoles, you can also donate them to local organizations. Some organizations can even repair consoles so they can be given away or sold to help people in need. Big box stores that sell digital devices, like Best Buy, also offer trade-in or buy-back programs.

Video Game Console Recycling Laws in Michigan

It’s also important to note that some states have enacted legislation that makes it illegal to toss video game consoles, computers, TVs, and other items into landfills. Michigan established its Electronic Waste Takeback Program in 2008 which mandates digital device manufacturers to take back unwanted or unused products. This program also ensures manufacturers are in compliance with Michigan’s Extended Producer Responsibility law and that electronic recycling centers are adhering to data security and environmental standards.

Where to Recycle Your Gaming Consoles in Michigan

High Tech Recycling is the metro Detroit area’s top electronic recycling center. We accept all types of devices, including gaming consoles, cell phones, and laptops. All services are free to our community—you can either drop off your devices to our location during business hours, or you can schedule a pickup appointment. Contact us today to learn more about our video game console recycling process, or fill out our online form today to schedule your pickup.

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