Nowadays, people are becoming more aware of the environment and try and take every precaution to help preserve the environment for future generations. The newest craze is recycling and people want to recycle every last bit of scrap they have lying around the house.
Headphones offer you a complex recycling challenge due to the different materials used to make the headphones. Before you can recycle each component correctly, you need to know what materials headphones are made up of.
What are headphones made up of?
Your headphones have three main components.
The tiny speakers, the casing that holds those speakers and the cord.
The tiny speakers contain magnets that moves the sound into tiny cones that create an amplifier as well as delivers the sound to your ears. The magnets are metal and the cones are made up of plastic or paper.
The casing of the headphones contain the speakers as well as helps to keep the headphones on your head. The casing often contains Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC, which is one of the most toxic and difficult plastics to recycle.
Rubber as well a foam is often found on the padding of the headphones to help the headphones fit nicely over the ears and create comfort. The foam pads are then covered by latex or synthetic leather to make them more comfortable and easier to clean.
Finally, the cords are copper or aluminium wire which is then covered by plastic. You will find these materials all over your house, including your cell phone chargers, wires connected to your TV, computers as well as your appliances.
How to recycle headphones
You cannot recycle your headphones at any recycling plant. Not all recycling plants have the facilities to recycle products that have more than one material in the product or the means to recycle your tech products. You need to find a plant or a company that recycles E-waste.
E-waste is all your electronic devices that can be broken up into different components and then recycled. E-waste can be very dangerous as the electronics are filled with heavy metals and carcinogenic chemicals that are ok when you using them but when recycled incorrectly, they cause damage.
They get burnt with the rest of the waste which puts mercury and lead into the air which is not safe. Recycling your E-waste correctly is a very long process which is why not every recycling plant does it however, it is safer for you as well as for the environment.
There are certain E-waste recyclers that can recycle your headphones for you.
JLab will recycle for you and even give you a coupon voucher for your next purchase just to reward you for recycling your old and used headphones as well as your other electronics. There are other stores around your area that helps recycle your headphones for you.
Who says that recycling is not rewarding?
Staples is a company that is a member of e-Stewards. They do a trade in service whereby you can trade in our old headphones for new ones at a lower price. One of their perks is that they give you free mail-back services or pickup services for your devices that you wish to recycle.
Ask your local tech store where the nearest E-waste recycling plant is or if they have a recycling bin in the shop to save you the trip.
If you are the type of person who likes to do everything themselves and likes to break things apart, you can try and harvest the recyclable materials from your headphones yourself but please be careful as there are sharp corners that can hurt you. This process will take you awhile and if you have a lot to recycle, I suggest giving it to a plant to do it for you.
Even though recycling is good for the environment, you want to make sure that you are not recycling a pair of headphones every year. This can become pricy. Make sure that you invest in a more expensive set of headphones. The better the quality, the longer they will last.
Check the list of the best headphones under $500.
Please keep in mind that you need to stick within your budget and not go buy a pair of headphones that you cannot afford. You need to take good care of them by packing them away in a safe place when you are done using them, clean them after every use and be careful when wrapping and putting away the cables.
iFixit dedicate a whole section of their website to headphone and earphone repairs. Go look on their website and see if you can fix your headphones yourself before taking them in to get fixed or recycling them.
Things to keep in mind when disposing of your headphones
- If they are still in working condition, you can donate them to a thrift shop.
- Before throwing them out, see if you can get them repaired as this will save money.
- Do not throw your headphones away in your normal dustbin as they will be burnt and cause damage to the environment.
- Find an E-waste friendly recycling plant to recycle your headphones for you.
- If you cannot find a plant, take them to your local tech store and ask them to dispose of your headphones correctly.
Headphones might be a difficult item to recycle. You might not find a recycling plant close to you however, contact a few and see if they provide a service whereby they collect your headphones and recycle them correctly.
This might be a long process to follow and recycling your headphones yourself will take time. I promise you though, if you recycle your headphones instead of throwing them away, you will be preserving the environment. Don’t stop at just headphones, recycling all your E-waste products such as your televisions, kitchen appliances and telephones.
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