The growing number of mobile phones, tablets, and home entertainment systems, along with all other types of electronic gadgets, has caused the world to undergo a significant transformation. We are now more linked, and it is much simpler for us to carry out tasks, whether they are related to our personal lives or our professional careers. However, this can only mean one thing: a rise in the amount of electronic waste. Approximately fifty million tons are produced every year across the globe.
What is E-Waste?
E-waste is an abbreviation for “electronic waste,” which is used to describe devices that have reached the end of their serviceable life. It falls under the umbrella of the more general category of special garbage, which also includes items such as contemporary light bulbs, antifreeze, batteries, and so on. In most cases, e-waste cannot be disposed of in the trash that is collected from households and must be handled properly. Although this may at times be inconvenient, doing so is vital to ensure both your safety and the safety of the environment.
When you have old electronics such as a cell phone, computer, or printer that have reached the end of their useful lives, it is imperative that you dispose of them in the appropriate manner. Why?
Why is proper e-waste disposal so important?
Proper disposal of e-waste at home is necessary for several important reasons, including the following:
1. Recyclers have the opportunity to make money off of e-waste.
Copper, aluminum, lithium, and gold are just a few of the precious materials that can be found in old electronic devices. By recycling these materials, we can reduce our consumption of virgin resources and save ourselves some energy. Your used electronic device might be able to be reconditioned and put to new use, or it might be taken apart and its components sold separately.
2. Electronic products include toxic substances, including lead and arsenic.
These compounds have the potential to seep out of a landfill, putting both people and wildlife in the surrounding area in danger.
It is generally against the law to throw away electronic devices with regular trash for the reasons listed above. Cybersecurity presents yet another possible obstacle. Hard disks that are still operational have the possibility of being taken from the garbage and mined by thieves for data and personal information. This is a more significant problem for companies and people who are self-employed, but because the majority of people now use their computers to keep financial information, it is something that should be taken into consideration.
What kinds of electronic products can you dispose of?
You are free to get rid of a significant portion of the electronics you use on a regular basis. The following are some of these; however, the list is not complete:
- Home theater systems and other audio systems
- Old laptop
- Old computer
- Old mobile phones
- Electronic keyboards and supplementary computer components
- Receivers of cable TV
The majority of consumer electronics are non-recyclable because they are mostly composed of non-hazardous materials. For example, the majority of them come with zinc plating, aluminum, copper, and gold components, but this varies from brand to brand. These generally do not provide nearly the same level of danger to the environment as other compounds, such as lithium.
What You Can’t Dispose Of?
So, what kinds of e-waste won’t be accepted by your community’s recycler? The majority of electronic waste, including sulfur, mercury, and beryllium oxide, is toxic and has the potential to contaminate the environment.
- Waste from electronic devices that include lithium, such as batteries
- Home appliances that are commonly found in people’s homes and contain freon include things like refrigerators, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners. Freon can cause major human health problems, including cardiac disorders if it is inhaled or ingested in sufficient quantities
- Medical equipment that has not been sanitized can potentially cause infections
- Microwave ovens; because they retain an electric charge over a longer period of time, recycling them might result in potentially fatal shocks.
E-Waste Disposal Locations
Here’s where you may dispose of your e-waste:
When it comes to e-waste disposal, landfills are the most common alternative. A landfill, sometimes known as a dump, is a place where waste is disposed of. Historically, landfills were mostly unmonitored and served as breeding grounds for contamination. They are now regulated and equipped with the infrastructure and personnel to oversee the sorting and effective trash management.
They begin by sorting the trash and removing recyclable materials such as paper and plastic bottles. In the instance of e-waste, they will separate the useable bits from the rest of the waste and then send the broken pieces to the landfill with the rest of the non-recyclable material. The biodegradable or reusable e-waste is then collected and transported to a recycling facility.
Centers for Recycling Electronic Waste
One option is to transport all of your waste to a facility that is specifically designed to recycle e-waste. Handlers of electronic waste begin the process of managing electronic waste by sorting it, just like workers at landfills do. After that, they reduce the size of the non-recyclable waste by hand shredding it. The resulting small pieces of waste are transferred to a conveyor belt, where they are subjected to additional shredding.
How to Reduce E-Waste at Home?
It is important for everyone to become aware of the problem of reducing e-waste and to make a commitment to doing so. The first step in this process is to comprehend why we do not want our used electronics to continue flowing continually into community landfills.
Eliminating the environmental concerns associated with e-waste is only one benefit of reducing e-waste. Recycling components found in e-waste requires a lot less energy than producing brand-new ones, so reducing the quantity of e-waste we produce helps us save resources and cut down on the total amount of energy needed to manufacture things.
Making use of recycled components in the production of the new device is another way in which we may contribute to the reduction of the costs of newly manufactured consumer goods. When compared to the alternative of producers needing to go mining for virgin ore in order to produce new metals, this is a significantly less expensive prospect. This indicates that once manufacturers are able to have access to the parts they require from the recycling business, there will be a decrease in the cost of producing a new smartphone or any other type of electronic device.
Therefore, everyone stands to benefit from this arrangement. The problem, of course, is that not enough people are aware that used electronic devices can be recycled.
Raising awareness about e-waste recycling is one of the most powerful and productive things you can do to learn how to cut down on the amount of electronic trash produced.
If you are already someone who recycles e-waste, then it is fantastic that you are already doing your part to limit the amount of waste that is produced. It is now time to take the next step and share your information with other people, such as members of your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, who might not be aware of the dangers that are posed by e-waste.
Other Ways to Reduce E-Waste
Due to the fact that it is quite likely that our need for new electronic devices will continue to grow over the course of the next several years, all of us need to be prepared for the possibility of an explosion of new devices as well as a similar rush to get rid of existing models.
Additionally, there are several things that we can do to reduce e-waste that is produced in our homes, such as the ones listed above. These are some of them:
1. Determine the lifespan of the product.
When you are ready to buy a new product, you should do some research first. Make certain that it is not one that can be broken easily or that will become damaged soon after it has been purchased by you. To put it another way, you should look for things that are likely to have a significantly longer lifespan so that you won’t have to replace them within a few years, or even months. Making products with shorter life spans on purpose so that more money can be earned in the long run when they break or malfunction is recognized as a prevalent practice in the electronics industry. This is something that is widely acknowledged.
Also Read: Tips to Make Your Appliances Last Longer
2. Educate yourself about the components that go into your electronic devices.
Educate yourself about the components that go into your electronic devices. The more you know, the more power you have. Doing some research about the raw materials being used to build your mobile phone or laptop helps you understand how dangerous those materials and toxins can be if they are thrown into a landfill. This is especially helpful if you plan to dispose of your mobile phone or laptop in a landfill. The more you educate yourself, the more likely it is that you will make purchases that won’t be dangerous to the environment.
3. Keep an eye out for labels that say they are environmentally friendly.
In an eco-friendly manner, you should check to see if the products you buy have the Energy Star logo on them or if they have been approved by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.
4. Think about reducing the number of electronic devices that you own.
If you don’t have an urgent need for an additional piece of technology, search for products that serve more than one purpose.
5. Teach your children about the potential hazards of electronic waste.
Children are our future, and it would be beneficial if we could implant within them, at an early age, a commitment to recycling e-waste.
6. Recycle, repeat, recycle.
No matter what kind of e-waste you have, it is critical that it be disposed of in an appropriate manner at all times. That entails recycling all of your old electronic devices while keeping in mind that inappropriately disposing of e-waste is becoming an increasingly hazardous practice. This is especially true in light of the fact that the amount of e-waste has increased in recent years.
7. Learn about the many security concerns.
Even if you delete the information from your electronic device, it will still be stored there; therefore, this is another reason why you shouldn’t throw it away. Your electronic equipment can be wiped clean by a recycling company before it is sent off to be recycled, eliminating any chance that identity thieves will be able to access the information it contains.
8. Uphold what you already own.
Modifications on a smaller scale can help keep what you have working for longer. Regularly cleaning your computer and avoiding charging it to its maximum capacity can allow you to extend the lifespan of your battery and make it last longer.
Using EPR for E-waste Management
Electronic product recycling, or EPR for short, is the practice of recycling used electronics. By recycling them, you can prevent your electronic products from being thrown away as waste and instead use them to create new products. Because toxic chemicals are kept out of our soil and water supplies and away from plants and animals, recycling electrical devices has a positive environmental impact.
By reducing the amount of plastic in their environment, which causes them many problems, including starvation or suffocation due to plastic entrapment or ingestion by mistake (this occurs when fish mistake plastic bags or other pieces of floating trash as food), the e-waste management system can also help to lessen negative effects on marine wildlife.
Recycling electronics is one of the most effective strategies to keep plastic waste from entering the ocean.
You can do your part to clean up our planet by recycling any old electronic devices you may have lying around. Recycling e-waste is beneficial to the environment because it prevents unneeded waste materials from going to landfills or being thrown in rivers and oceans, both of which are locations where the plastic can break down into little pieces that can eventually be consumed by humans as well as fish. If we do not recycle e-waste, such as old cell phones, laptops, and televisions, these items will be dumped in landfills, where they will take up space for hundreds of years, if not thousands.
Also Read: Simple Ways to Reuse and Recycle at home
Written by Alfred Alaba