How Do Airbags Threaten The Environment?

Electronic waste is a growing concern, and not just from your desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices. Airbags have been in the news a lot in the past decade, especially following the Takata airbag scandal that pointed a powerful focus on both safety failures and environmental concerns. If you're worried about how electronic waste and other forms of new product waste affect the environment, here are a few details to help you understand the risks and work towards making your part of the world safer and more informed.

What Is Electronic Waste?

Electronic waste or eWaste is the label for garbage that contains electronic components. The reason for the specific category is because of the common components on many electronics, such as lithium batteries, mercury in computer monitors, chromium on switches and relays, and other components that are inside electronics in small amounts.

Electronic waste has a high potential for being safe, despite the dangers. The amounts can add up to dangerous, soil and water-poisoning levels, but only if the world haphazardly throws them away. With the logical, sleek, and efficient ways that computers are designed to work, look, and feel, it's just as easy and efficient to take old systems to their proper recycling areas.

The key to proper recycling is as simple as separating your trash. Marking electronics properly for specific delivery can go a long way in not only keeping hazardous materials out of the environment in high concentrations, but reclaiming some of these materials to be used again instead of mining for new materials. 

How Do Airbags Fit In?

Understandably, not many people have experience with airbags aside from seeing them deployed in video, or the startling deployment in a car accident victim's face. Beneath that deployed airbag is impressive circuitry that plays an important role in saving lives quickly.

Airbags are computers. They're computers that deploy protective pillows, and as silly as that may sound, it's a testament to the great things that technology can achieve. This means that many of the circuit board metals present in smartphones are a concern in airbag units as well.

In addition to the circuit board, some airbags used what is called phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant or PSAN. Takata's recalled airbags use PSAN with their inflator systems, as do a few leading airbag vendors, but there are other airbag deployment techniques such as sodium hydroxide.

The materials used in airbags are another concern. Some are made of nylon, while others are made with proprietary rubber mixtures. To be safe, simply contact airbag recycling services professionals to arrange a pickup or delivery of the airbags, and for additional information about your specific airbag.