The Guide to Electronic Waste: Why is it a Problem?
Got an old tech device that you’re about to discard?
Maybe it’s an old laptop whose life is running out. Or, perhaps you’re about to discard an old phone or gadget…
Those old devices don’t end up in a landfill. Many of them get discarded in a manner that’s harmful to the environment.
To Give You An Idea.
E-waste is the fastest-growing form of waste in the world.
You see, in 2017 alone, over 50 million tons of electronic waste were tracked (source)!
The cost of that waste was at $63 billion. And it’s a cost that affects the environment, our health, the foods we consume, and much more!
Plus, electronic disposal produces lots of side-effects. And it’s due to the high density of hazardous chemicals often used in electronic manufacturing.
Lead, Mercury, & Sulfur.
Lead isn’t just a battery component. It’s also used in the product of computer screens (specifically CRTs). And its side-effects are well-known.
When ingested, lead can destabilize cognitive functioning while lowering IQ. It also leads to poisoning. Plus, it damages the nervous system of developing children!
Mercury is also used in computers, precisely flat-screen monitors. And exposure to it at high levels leads to death. It also leads to memory loss and muscle impairment upon consumption.
Sulfur is another dangerous component. It’s used in lead-acid batteries, and it creates corrosives when released into the environment.
It can react to form sulfuric acid (and sometimes) sulfur dioxide. Not only are both dangerous chemicals to handle, but they also pollute the environment!
Electronic Waste Management is a Must.
There’s a misconception that only heavy machinery (like car components, factory equipment, etc.) causes e-waste.
But this isn’t the full truth.
The extreme majority of disposed of electronics are consumer-based. And e-waste management for those is a must.
How Do We Accomplish That?
We’ll discuss that in the next few points.
Below, we’ll mention some e-waste solutions you can apply. Also, we’ll reference some collective electronic recycling efforts that are worth considering!
Solutions for E-Waste Management.
Let’s start with the solutions you can apply. And that would be reselling.
If you have old electronics, don’t dump them. Electronic disposal is horrible, and it should be a last resort.
Instead, sell them to someone as a used product.
Even better, you can repair that product and keep using it! And that’s a much better option than outright dumping what you own!
Recycle Spare Parts.
If you’re fixing your old devices – then you’re likely getting rid of the old and damaged components.
Donating them is an excellent idea. But also, you can check e-waste pickup and recycling options in your state (source)!
A nearby address should be sufficient to get rid of your old items. And often, the recyclers will show up at your doorstep to take your items for you!
Donate What You Own.
Sometimes, some less privileged individuals like to own what you have.
Donating your items to them is an act of kindness. You contribute to their ownership of things they need. Plus, you put less electronic consumers on the market!
With a wide enough donation activity, fewer people buy new electronics. And with fewer electronics circulating, less e-waste gets passed around!
A 3rd Option – The EPA.
The government is an excellent place to find environmentally friendly advice.
Plus, you can get information on locations to donate old electronics (source).