People’s desire to have the latest device is making tech companies richer and the planet sicker by the minute. Technology has been evolving so fast that one thing you know, the smartphone you recently bought has a new version coming out.
When you buy a new device, the tendency is for you to keep the old one for sentimental reasons. And when they pile up, you want to get rid of them all at once. In 2019, 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste were dumped in landfills worldwide.
Not surprisingly, the majority of these were gadgets produced by China. But the countries with the most e-waste produced were the United Kingdom, France, and Norway.
If you wish to dispose of your garbage, it’d be best to do it regularly and not let them pile up in a huge mess. Acquiring same-day rubbish removal services is best to keep your home clean and organized.
What Is Electronic Waste?
Electronic waste or e-waste is electronic products that have reached the end of their useful life, are unwanted, and not working anymore. They could be small and medium-sized devices like cellphones, speakers, televisions, printers, fax machines, and large ones like microwaves, entertainment devices, heaters, and refrigerators.
How Harmful Is E-Waste?
Electronic wastes contain toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, nickel, cadmium, and many other harmful substances. They can leach into the soil when they disintegrate and travel through the water system. Today, millions of children, adolescents, and expectant mothers are affected by this crisis. These harmful chemicals can damage children’s cognitive abilities, and the fetus inside the mother’s womb can have congenital disabilities.
Aside from the health risks associated with e-waste, the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries on your smartphones and laptops were, at times, the source of deadly wildfires and many landfill fires globally.
Improper e-waste management is a rapidly escalating problem. Sadly, only 17.4% of e-waste produced in 2019 was recycled correctly, and the rest was shipped off and illegally dumped in many third-world countries in Asia and impoverished countries in Africa.
The call to dispose of e-waste properly is getting louder, albeit slowly. Each one must be able to do their share in doing this if people want to slow down climate change and allow the planet to be enjoyed by future generations.
To give you an idea, here are ways you can properly dispose of your old gadgets and electronics:
1. One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Treasure
Your old chunky cellphone from time immemorial may be used as a display in a vintage-themed restaurant or an exhibit for educational purposes. Surely, somebody would want it for use in whatever way they want. If your gadget is still working but you don’t want it anymore, someone else can still use it.
2. Sell Them
Old laptops still in good condition can be refurbished and sold to those looking for a more affordable version. Many businesses offer these; just make sure you delete all vital information and all media stored on your laptop for security before you go to the store.
3. Donate To Charitable Institutions
Your old laptop may still be helpful to students who can’t afford to buy a new one or to an NGO who don’t have many funds. You may donate them to individuals, or you may donate them to organizations.
Many charitable organizations like Goodwill accept donations of old electronics. However, you have to check their list of requirements as they don’t take large appliances, printers, and any device that’s not working.
4. Trade Them
Many electronics companies accept a trade of your old device in exchange for their latest. This could be an excellent way to reduce the cost of that sparkly new smartphone you’ve been eyeing for a long time. You could save a hefty 30% on the price of that new gadget, and that’s huge!
5. Take Them To A Recycler
You can drop off a box of your old electronics or have them picked up at your home. Recycling facilities shred old electronics and divide them into three valuable categories: ferrous or iron-based, non-ferrous, and plastics. These three different commodities are then shipped to various locations to be recycled and transformed into new things.
Most of the plastic shredded from the electronics is sent back to companies making printers to become parts of brand-new printers. Before choosing a recycling facility, ensure they have the E-steward stamp of approval.
E-steward is a non-profit organization that ensures recycling facilities are living up to their mission of properly recycling electronics and not merely dumping them in another country. E-stewards conduct audits and surprise inspections and even attach GPS trackers to the streams of recycling facilities to ensure they’re doing the right thing.
Sadly, a vast chunk of e-waste in landfills isn’t e-waste but whole electronic parts and equipment that can still be used or recovered. If only people were more prudent in using their electronics, there could be a reduction in the amount of toxic waste thrown into landfills worldwide.