What happens when you toss your old cellphone or computer monitor in the Dumpster? First, you're contributing toxins like mercury, lead and cadmium into the environment. By some estimates, there are 500 million discarded cellphones in the U.S. alone. Second, you're wasting precious resources: Electronics contain small amounts of precious metals like gold, silver and coltan, all of which can be reclaimed to reduce often environmentally destructive mining operations. What can you do? Plan your electronics purchases wisely—think about a new phone every three or four years, instead of every six months—and always drop your e-waste off at a recycling center. Apple
Everyday behavior, things that it’s easy to take for granted, have a significant effect on the planet. Some habits are easy to change, but others are more deeply entrenched. And so, despite your good intentions, you’re probably wrecking the environment as we speak. See the five ways you’re ruining things (and how to turn them around) here.