Recycling old computers, cell phones, and TVs may sound like a good idea—but be sure you know the destination before you dump such material, USA Today advises. While such “e-waste” recycling programs are springing up everywhere these days, some pose a threat. Often, the materials end up in developing nations, spreading toxins through the air and water.
In some cases, recycling groups ensure the e-waste is properly sorted and put to new uses. But in other situations, brokers sell the materials to developing countries hoping to find precious metals among the piles. Leftover toxins can harm the laborers who explore the waste and others exposed to the chemicals. “People really should ask questions about where the material is going,” warned an expert.