New technology and advancement bring new electronic products and gadgets from time to time. So what do you end up doing with your old gadgets? Mostly throwing it away after it is of no use and replacing it with another one.
Sounds pretty reasonable to do right! However, this attitude has resulted in some serious trouble for the planet!
E-waste is the fastest-growing solid waste that is increasing day by day. Each year more and more electronics are bought, used, and discarded.
Is Electronic Waste harmful?
Mostly these electronic items are made up of different chemicals such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants. These toxic chemicals come in contact with soil and then pollute the air and enter into water bodies when we try to decompose them. The growing quantity of e-waste is filling our earth full of toxic materials, polluting our air, water, and soil. The hazardous substances that are found in e-waste are detrimental to the environment as well as human health.
E-waste: Many companies are taking great initiative in reducing e-waste. There is a separate code of conduct for recycling e-waste, ensure that we are moving through the appropriate recycling codes of conduct that are safe and non-hazardous disposal of goods. Even if our old devices are broken or suffering from water damage, they still have value and can probably be repaired. E-waste is full of valuable resources; E-waste also contains valuable precious metals like gold, copper, and silver, and rare earth minerals.
We are depleting the earth’s natural resources very quickly to make electronics. So it’s important for the future of the industry and to maintain sustainability in the electronics world to figure out how we can recycle and reuse what we have. According to the UN, up to 90% of e-waste is dumped illegally, which is a huge environmental hazard. The Basel Action Network is a non-profit working to regulate e-waste exports from industrialized societies to developing countries.
How to reduce e-waste?
Here are some simple and effective ways to reduce e-waste:
1. Give Your Electronic Waste to a Certified E-Waste Recycler
Taking electronic items to the waste and recycling Centre is a good step. Searching for an e-waste recycling center in our area can be an excellent way to recycle e-waste. This can be done by storing the waste and send it to the e-waste recycling Centre. The positive aspect of e-waste recycling is that we have few recycling options. What we have to do is to find an e-waste recycler who is officially certified by the Basel Action Network (BAN). BAN is a non-profit organization of recycling companies that are dedicated to recycling e-waste in a safe and responsible way. Precautions to Take Before Donating or Recycling Your Electronics
- Upgrade the computer instead of simply replacing it
- Format all our personal information from our products.
- Always take out the batteries from our gadgets before getting rid of them.
2. Live in the cloud: There is no need to buy a large server or heavy-duty machines for either work or personal storage. Cloud system storages are great for backing up and syncing our files across multiple devices without having to invest in a server. The main benefit of using a cloud service is that we can access our data from anywhere around the globe. Cloud storage reduces the need for manufacturing new storage devices, resulting in lower environmental impact as it indirectly helps in reducing carbon footprints and minimizing e-waste.
3. Rent electronic items instead of buying: A good idea to minimize our e-waste is to rent it. For instance, if we infrequently need a video projector for our business, we may take it on a rent basis rather than buying. If we are looking for a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option, renting electronics can be our best choice. We only have to pay for the usage duration, and we do not even have to buy a new device. Companies like Amazon are also doing huge investments to encourage recycling.
4. Sell Off Your Outdated Technology:
Another option is to re-sell the old electronic items or gadgets so that other people who cannot afford a new one will use them. As an old saying is, One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Most electronic shops are always ready to buy your old electronics.
Donating Your Outdated Technology
Old gadgets that no longer need can be donated to others. Your old computer may be useful to either an NGO or students. You should ask yourself these 2 questions before disposing of your old electronics:
- Is the electronic item working?
- Does the computer have any of our personal information?
There are several electronic donation programs organized by many organizations from time to time.
5. Give Back to Your Electronic Companies: A lot of electronic companies tend to have an exchange policy whereby they take back our old gadgets when we buy the latest version, sometimes offering us a discount on our new purchase. A few recycling companies have set up electronic drop off initiatives along with drop off points for products such as cell phones and tablets, after which they are recycled.
6. Safeguard Both the Environment and Your Sensitive Information: Electronics are an important part of our lives today, but the negative side is the e-waste that comes along with it. So we must remember how to dispose of or decompose electronics.
7. Hold our electronic devices for long: One of the best things you can do is hold our electronic devices for as long as possible before recycling. If we need to upgrade, we can go for trading our old devices to have them refurbished instead of just sending them off to be recycled.
8. Organize what we have: Look, many people are in need of these electronics, so If we don’t organize our gadgets, wires, connectors, and DVDs, we will never know what we have. Then what we will do, buy a new one and ultimately it will remain long in our drawers as an extra one. So make extra focus on what we have, and we all must try to make them systematic.
9. Learn about your local recycling options: Gain as much information from the local options for recycling electronics. No matter where we live, check out our nearby options to recycle locally, and we must share and educate our family, friends, and community.
10. Make a good-e-bag: I go to a number of conferences and seminars where they give away memory sticks and random little gadgets. I made a good-e bag with all the items collected from these conferences, and I hand these out to people that could actually use them.
11. Educate yourself, and be a little afraid: Most electronic gadgets have toxic materials in them, so it is extremely important to dispose of them the right way. Educate the family, kids, and friends so that we can save our planet and make it more sustainable for our future generations.
Some Examples of E-waste:
– Consumer electronics;(Television, Mobile, DVD Players, etc.)
– Office electronics;(Laptop, Projector, Scanner, Printer, Copier, etc.)
– Lighting devices (Incandescent Lamp, Light Emitting Diode (LED) Lamp, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) Lamp, etc.)
– Power tools (Air compressor, Hammer Drill, etc.)
– Home appliances (Air Conditioners, Refrigerator, Washing Machine, etc.)
– Toys, leisure, and sports equipment (Handheld Game Consoles, Electric Scooter, Electric guitar, etc.)
If one is getting confused in choosing between disposing or recycling?
Then we have a simple solution. Depending on the type, analyze the type of e-waste, we may opt for either disposal or recycling. For instance, if we have an old iPhone which still functioning, we can go for recycling. We may think of reusing a mobile phone rather than buying a new one. On the other hand, we may opt for waste disposal if we want to get rid of our old electronic devices.
Over the years, the landfill has become one of the most popular waste disposal methods. However, this is not the best solution. The main reason is that e-waste contains several toxic chemicals like mercury and lead, which are detrimental to humans as well as to the environment. Landfilling releases these toxic chemicals into the environment, affecting the atmosphere and triggering severe health problems
Why should you take care of your e-waste?
It is estimated that the huge amount of e-waste production will increase to 52.2 million metric tons by 2021. This will be a major threat to the environment and human health for our future. The growing quantity of e-waste is filling our earth full of toxic materials, polluting our air, water, and soil. The hazardous substances that are found in e-waste are detrimental to the environment as well as human health. For example, when lead is leaked into the atmosphere, it can damage human blood, kidneys, and even the peripheral nervous system. Therefore, proper disposal and recycling are crucial to safeguard our environment from pollution and to protect our health.