According to a 2022 report, global e-waste is said to hold over $60 billion worth of raw materials.
This doesn’t just include wood or plastic, but gold, silver, palladium, copper, and a range of other metals that can make almost any hi-fi speaker manufacturer drool as well! Out of all this, only 17% is recycled, while the remaining continues to fill our landfills.
What did you do with your last pair of speakers? How did you dispose of them once they stopped working and were beyond repair?
You may have simply chucked them in the trash or given them off to someone who said they could sell them for spare parts. Of course, you can’t possibly extract the aforementioned metals alone, right?
Speakers contain a wide range of metals in them, even if they aren’t hi-fi.
The ICs within often have silver and copper inside that can be recycled. And if you have a hi-fi speaker system or a hi-fi pair of headphones, naturally, there is going to be gold, palladium, or other precious metals inside as well!
This shows just how important recycling speaker systems are and how lucrative they can be.
A recycling company needs to process at least 32-40 ordinary speakers or 5-10 hi-fi speaker systems to make a profit from its speaker recycling. If you dispose of your speakers to such a company, they are also likely to pay you a sum so that you get a reward for recycling, too!
In this article, I will take a closer look at some of the best (socially and environmentally responsible) ways to dispose of speakers, including recycling them.
I will also look at the benefits therein and the potential implications of simply throwing your speakers into a landfill!
Disposing Of Speakers Properly
When it comes to disposing of speakers, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
For starters, you want to make sure that you’re being socially and environmentally responsible with your disposal. This means recycling where possible and avoiding landfills where possible, too.
Of course, recycling isn’t always possible. Sometimes, speaker systems are simply too damaged or broken to be recycled. In these cases, the best thing to do is to take them to a local landfill site and mention that this is potential e-waste.
Before you dispose of your speakers at a landfill site, though, you should check with the local authorities first.
This is because some sites don’t accept e-waste, or they may have special requirements for such disposal. Furthermore, recycling plants nearby could take your speakers, even if they got squished by a car!
Once you’re sure that the landfill site can accept your speakers, make sure to double-check that they are, in fact, beyond repair. This is important because, as I mentioned earlier, recycling is always the best option where possible.
If you’re certain that your speakers are beyond repair and recycling isn’t an option, then disposing of them at a landfill site is the next best thing.
By doing this, you can ensure that they don’t end up in our oceans or in other places where they could cause harm to the environment.
Benefits Of Recycling Speakers
As I mentioned earlier, recycling speakers comes with a whole host of benefits. Not only does it help to reduce e-waste in landfills, but it also allows for the valuable metals inside to be extracted and reused.
This is important because, as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of valuable metals inside speakers. By recycling them, you can ensure that these metals don’t go to waste and can be put to good use elsewhere.
In addition to this, recycling speakers also helps to create jobs. This is because there is a whole industry dedicated to recycling e-waste.
By disposing of your speakers responsibly, you can help to support this industry and the people who work in it. This makes it a socially responsible thing to do on your end.
Finally, recycling speakers is also good for the environment.
This is because it helps to reduce the amount of pollution that is created when manufacturing new products. This, in turn, makes it an environmentally responsible thing to do for you!
Implications Of Throwing Speakers In The Trash
There are some very pressing implications to throwing speakers in the trash. For one, it could lead to more e-waste in landfills. This is because speakers contain a lot of valuable metals that could be reused if they were recycled instead.
In addition to this, throwing speakers in the trash could also lead to pollution.
This is because the speakers would likely end up in a landfill, where they would release harmful toxins into the ground. This could potentially contaminate the soil and water near the landfill site.
Finally, throwing speakers in the trash could also affect human health. This is because the toxins released by the speakers could potentially cause health problems for people who come into contact with them.
So, while throwing speakers in the trash may seem like an easy solution, it’s important to consider the potential implications before doing so.
In almost every scenario, recycling your speakers is a much better and more responsible option to consider!
What Happens to Speakers When Being Recycled?
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits and implications of recycling speakers, you might be wondering what actually happens to them when they’re being recycled.
The first thing that happens is that the speakers are disassembled. This is because removing any hazardous materials is important before they can be recycled.
Some of these hazardous materials include lead, mercury, and cadmium. Recycling plants often find a use for these toxic materials as well.
Once the speakers have been disassembled, the valuable metals inside are extracted.
These metals are then sorted and sold to companies that can put them to good use. For example, copper from recycled speakers can be used in the construction industry, while aluminum can be used in the manufacturing of new products.
The plastics from recycled speakers are usually turned into pellets. These pellets can then be used to create new products, such as plastic bags or bottles. Even the mercury can be sold off to companies that make batteries or medical equipment.
The diaphragm of your speakers (especially hi-fi speakers) is often made of wood. This wood can be used for other purposes, such as creating biomass energy or making furniture.
So, as you can see, recycling speakers is a very beneficial process.
Not only does it help to reduce pollution and conserve valuable resources, but it also provides us with new materials that can be used to create new products.
If you have old speakers you’re no longer using, make sure to recycle them instead of throwing them in the trash. Even as an audiophile, you can do your part to help the environment!
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.