“Cradle to Cradle”
Construction of headphones
Early headphones were largely handmade and constructed from materials common to electrical products of the era---mainly copper, rubber, leather and technical ceramics. Modern headphones are generally highly engineered, mass-produced and made with sophisticated plastics, silicone, artificial leather, rubber, textiles, vinyl and foam materials. Some common materials used in the construction of around-the-ear headphones include polyurethane, faux leather filled with foam, real leather, and an array of textiles including plush, velvet, and velour. Then most packages for headphones are made out of cardboard. When manufacturing boxes we talk about two different types of liners, this is the material that lies on top and beneath the fluting and creates a corrugated board. Typically, cardboard boxes have a test paper inner liner, and a Kraft paper outer.
How headphones are used and for how long
Based on personal experience, some headphones can last for several years, however typically headphones last for about 1.5-2 years on average. Headphones are used by all people, of all ages, all races, all personalities, and even practically all socioeconomic statuses.
When headphones are no longer needed
When headphones are no longer needed, the reason is usually because they are broken. For this, the headphones are typically thrown away, along with the cardboard packaging they were enclosed in. The most common material that makes up headphones is probably rubber. And rubber does not decompose. Therefore, it just sits in the landfill, or gets carried away to the ocean or a nearby lake eventually. For cardboard, it takes about two months to decompose. Next, cardboard contains many more greenhouse gases than its counterpart plastic. In addition, rubber is extremely harmful to the environment, releasing many toxic and hazardous chemicals into the atmosphere.
Headphones can be recycled
A way headphones can be reused or repurposed is similar to plastic bottles. When the headphones are recycled, they can be taken to a recycling factory, separated into their distinct parts, and crushed down into blocks, eventually being melted down to be reused again later on.
Over the last half century, the amount of waste created per person in the United States has almost doubled. The concept and promotion of the three Rs was created to help combat the drastic increase in solid waste production. Therefore, we can benefit just about every aspect of the environment positively if we stick by the three R's as best we can.