What Can We Do to Solve the E-Waste Disaster?
Electronic waste (often referred to as e-waste) is a term used to describe wasted electrical and electronic gadgets. Improper trash disposal and processing can result in negative human and environmental consequences.
When China prohibited 24 different types of solid garbage in July 2017, countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan realized they had a serious problem on their hands. China used to receive 70% of the world's electronic trash, including abandoned computers, cell phones, mobile chargers, printers, televisions, microwaves, smoke alarms, and other electronic equipment and parts. Following China's decision to cease accepting this e-waste due to environmental concerns, Europe and North America began exporting more of it to Southeast Asia—but now Vietnam and Thailand, whose ports are overburdened, are restricting imported e-waste as well.
There are now more mobile phones and chargers on the planet than there are humans. Our habit of just discarding products and replacing them with new ones contributes to a global e-waste problem.
The global population dumped 50 million tones of e-waste in 2016. That quantity is expected to rise to more than 58 million tones by 2021.
E-waste is a big problem in 2021 because the technology is updating so fast that people also want to update their gadgets and electronic machines quickly, even they can manage it more few years but people were so excited to use the updated tech they throw away their current electronic product and purchase a new one.
Let’s get to know what is Electronic waste (E-waste) is and then you’ll know why it is important to give serious thought to preventing it.
What is E-waste?
Electronic products that are undesired, broken, or near, or at the end of their "useful life" are referred to as e-waste. Everyday electronic devices include computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, mobile phones, chargers, and fax machines.
E-waste is defined as any waste electrical or electronic equipment is referred to as e-waste. This covers both working and broken things that are discarded or donated to a charity reseller such as Goodwill. If an item remains unsold in a store, it is frequently discarded. Toxic compounds naturally leach from the metals inside e-waste when it is buried, making it extremely harmful.
The Environmental Impact of E-Waste
When we use Electrical products and after using them for some time we throw them away, sometimes because it’s unrepairable and sometimes because we want its new version, and this type of waste left a bad impact on the environment.
- Air Pollution: When wires are burned, hydrocarbons are released into the environment.
- Electronic equipment contains harmful metals including mercury, lead, and lithium, which combines with ponds, lakes, and groundwater when incorrectly disposed of. Communities that are directly reliant on these water sources unwittingly eat it. These heavy metals are poisonous to all living creatures.
- Soil Pollution: Heavy metals are taken by plants from the soil and enter the food chain. These metals not only kill plants but also poison other living things, resulting in a deadly food chain.
E-Waste Reduction Techniques
The challenge of eliminating e-waste is one that everyone should be aware of and commit to, and it all starts with understanding why we don't want our old gadgets to end up in community landfills.
Electronic trash is described as abandoned electrical or electronic gadgets that, if disposed of in landfills, can cause human and environmental harm. These devices contain dangerous chemicals such as mercury and lead, and while they are safe to use, once they are disposed of, the toxins can leach into the soil and water, poisoning both. If those chemicals end up in your drinking water, you and your family are putting your health at risk.
We can also assist keep the cost of new consumer items down by making new products out of recycled parts. For manufacturers, this is a significantly less expensive option than mining for raw ore to create new metals. This means that once manufacturers have access to the parts they need from the recycling industry, the cost of producing a new smartphone, or any other electronic gadget, decreases.
As a result, this is a win-win situation for everyone. Of course, the problem is that not enough people are aware that e-waste can be recycled.
As a result, helping to spread the information about recycling is one of the most powerful and effective ways to learn how to reduce e-waste.
An issue that needs several solutions
There are various ways that general practices might become more aware of the current issue and begin to responsibly dispose of technological debris. Electronic hardware left on the nature strip for waste collection is no longer acceptable. There are organizations where you may drop off your e-waste for free, and recycling businesses can be called to collect various sorts of e-waste that need to be removed and recycled.
Sell old Electronics
Selling or donating your electronic devices to those in need is one of the greatest and easiest ways to reduce your electronic waste impact.
If you plan to sell, you should have no trouble finding a buyer because they will be able to get identical goods at a much lower price than if they were new. You get quick cash, and the buyer gets a nice gadget; it's a win-win situation for both of you.
Electronics can be donated.
Many people donate their old electronics to the less fortunate. It not only breathes fresh life into the item, but it also makes you feel good about yourself.
If you decide to give your old electronic gadgets when you no longer need them, make sure to erase any data (such as data on your laptop hard drive) before doing so.
E-waste should be recycled and disposed of correctly.
Improperly handled e-waste is getting increasingly dangerous, particularly as the volume of our e-waste grows.
As a result, major brands such as Apple, Samsung, and others have begun to offer customers the option of recycling outdated gadgets. You may even receive a monetary reward for recycling your old electronics!
The pricey electronic parts within discarded electronics can be repurposed by recycling them. This can save a lot of energy and eliminate the need for new raw materials or parts to be mined.
Keep your electronics in good shape.
Maintaining your gadgets to extend their life is one of the best methods to save money and reduce e-waste. Here are a few pointers to help you get started.
Maintaining a Laptop or Computer:
- Make sure the hard disc or SSD on your PC does not become filled. This permits it to run smoothly and quickly for an extended period of time.
- Keep your computer clean by cleaning it regularly.
- Avoid overcharging your battery whenever feasible. This involves unplugging your charger before your laptop reaches 100% charge, which will extend the life of your battery.
Maintaining a Mobile Phone:
- If you drop your phone, protect it with a phone case and a screen protector.
- Keep your device clean, just like your laptop, and don't always fully charge your battery if you don't need to (This improves overall battery lifespan).
- You save money by not having to buy new gadgets when your old ones break down if you maintain existing equipment. You're also reducing the number of electronics that end up in landfills by extending the life of your electronic equipment.
It is necessary to purchase electronics that have an Energy Star certification.
Investing in environmentally friendly devices has many interconnected advantages.
A gadget with a high Energy Star rating consumes less energy, resulting in a significant reduction in your electricity bill. Furthermore, requiring less energy prevents resource (energy) depletion by minimizing over-utilization. It indirectly benefits the environment by reducing the demand for and depletion of resources.
The coolest thing you can do is wait until you truly need a new device before purchasing one. If possible, try to have your old product repaired; if that isn't possible, resell or recycle it ethically.
Before recycling your item, be sure that any broken parts are sealed in separate containers to prevent harmful substances from leaking. If you're working with something that's broken, put on rubber gloves and a mask. Locate a professional recycler.