E-waste is a term that was born somewhere around the eighties. So by now you might have heard of it or have a vague sense of what it is. Still, a lot of people do not bother to think about what happens with their electronic devices that are no longer functional.
What Is E-Waste?
E-waste stands for electronic waste, meaning all electronic devices that are not being used for a longer period of time or not working. Devices that are still being used but are intended to be reused, resold or recycled also fall under the category e-waste.
A question that arises is: what do we do with the devices we want to get rid of for whatever reason and what is their final destination?
What Is the Problem?
Electronics are more or less made to last us a lifetime. That is why the materials that are being used to make our electronic devices are not easy to recycle or get rid of.
So clearly the process of taking care of e-waste takes a lot of time and money. Also, the amount of new e-waste grows faster than the amount that is actually being recycled. The consumption of electronics increase because we either:
- want the newest ‘gadget’ on the market, so we discard our older models, even if they work perfectly fine;
- use our electronics in a way that shortens their lifespan.
The end result is that devices that were made to last and live forever now need a place to die.
Most of our electronics end up at landfills in the poorest countries or cities in the world. Mostly because the rules regarding the disposal of electronics are less strict. You can find large landfills in places like Guiyu (China) or Ghana. Incinerating e-waste is also a much used method.
The problem with these methods is that the materials our devices are made out of are full of toxins (i.e. lead and mercury), that end up poisoning the environment and are hazardous to our health.
Right now e-waste just gets relocated and partially altered (i.e. in case of incineration). Out of sight, out of mind, seems to be the consensus. Hence, the people in the areas where the waste ends up suffer especially bad.
How You Can Help the Planet & Yourself
Knowing how harmful electronic waste can be, why not take action? It does not take much effort to make sure your electronic devices do not end up becoming a hazard to our planet or our health.
The answer lies in recycling e-waste. This process takes a lot of time but it is worth it wouldn’t you say? Basically, there are companies out there that take our e-waste apart and separate according to the materials. Almost all the parts end up being used for the production of new electronic devices.>
And all you and I need to do is take the time to do a little research to find these great companies.
And for the devices that are still functioning; do not throw them away. If for whatever reason you are so over that particular device, just sell it or give it away.