E-waste, this is not something new. We could have heard about this over and over again. In televisions, Newspapers, Social media and other communication medium but very few people pay attention to these messages. Even many of us were not aware of E-waste, so need for educating is so real. E-Waste or Electronics Waste refers to the waste generated from discarded old or unused Electronic gadgets or Electrical appliances. To name a few examples Old computers, CD drives, Motherboards, Television, Batteries and all other common household Electrical and Electronic appliances fall under this category.
E-WASTE IS SO DEADLY THAN YOU IMAGINE:
Action against E-Waste starts with the realization that it is not like other waste like Plastics, Paper etc to recycle with ease. E-waste is composed of potentially harmful materials such as Lead, Cadmium, Chromium etc which has the power to create a negative impact to humans as well as the environment.
It is capable of negatively affecting the environment that can last for many decades. When harmful elements in this E-Waste comes in contact with water bodies such as Lakes, Ponds or Oceans. It affects the Sea life ecosystem and Marine life in it. It will even lead to death of marine organisms. E-waste ending up in Landfills will affect the ground water table and affects the fertility of the soil greatly. E-waste when burnt, releases toxins into the Air which can cause respiratory diseases. Also it contains Carcinogenic elements which can cause Cancer among Humans and Animals. The effects are pretty hard to cover in this article. So I suggest you to go through this list of Hazardous effects of E-waste.
WHY E-WASTE IS A REAL THREAT:
E-Waste has started growing into a real threat and likely to threaten wellness of Environment and Humans. The reason behind this is that E-Waste is not treated the way it should be treated. Not all Recycling centers know how to handle E-waste or won’t take the trouble to recycle them safely. Many recycling centers extracts copper, cadmium, gold, platinum and other precious materials and throws the rest which is end up in Landfills or Water bodies. Worse than this E-Waste from many developed nations have been exported to under developed and developing nations where they use underpaid laborers to handle the E-waste in Non-hygienic means. This will put the health of those laborers at risk while companies make profit from E-waste Recycling in cost of laborers health.
Read about Guiyu a Guangdong province in China which got the name “Electronic Graveyard of the world” due to its crude methods of dealing with E-waste. Another similar city which suffered the wrath of Electronics E-Waste is Agbogbloshie in Ghana. Even E-waste from developed countries are exported to Under developed countries to just fill up their landfills. It won’t be long this E-waste becomes global issue in fact it already have transformed in to a global issue but yet to gain attention of common people.
STATISTICS ABOUT E-WASTE:
E-waste dumped into environment is predicted to reach 52.2 Million ton by the year 2021. If this is not alarming I am not sure what else does.
WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT:
We as an individual should take act responsibly to combat E-waste. And 3R’s will be our mantra to join the fight against E-waste.
These 3 R’s when practiced consciously will be a great change in the war against E-Waste.
With technology outgrowing itself every day we don’t want to be the one left behind. This force us to always look for upgrading our gadgets and appliances even though the need for that upgrade is not necessary. In fact most of us have the habit of upgrading our Smartphones once in a year to stay updated and enjoy the new technology. But do we really need that? Does the Smartphone we own now is not capable of perform the task we need to do ? If the answer to these questions is a “No” you need to reconsider buying that Smartphone. It may be not be entirely our fault in buying Smartphones when the need is not really there. Majority of the blame goes to the companies who flood the market with their products and create a market for it with brilliant marketing strategies and we are being a prey for it.
Please do not mistake me and take this in the wrong sense. Everyone should enjoy new technologies and we have the right to do so. But cutting down the consumption level by assessing the real need can goes a long way in this war. So the bottom line reduce your consumption of new gadgets and buy new devices/ appliances only when it is absolutely necessary.
Concept of reusing is not Understood properly. Most of us have the habit of throwing away old gadgets when it’s not working properly or no longer useful for us. This is where the concept of Reusing comes into picture. Reuse suggest to circle back the gadgets into usage rather than throwing them away. For example when you buy a new Mobile phone and your old one no longer serves you, consider donating or selling. By this way that Gadget will again put to use thus reducing the E-waste ditched into Atmosphere.
Also consider repairing your old gadgets when it ceases to work. There is a high chance that your gadget might be facing a small fixable issue and you don’t want to throw them out and buy a new one for the sake of that teeny tiny issue. It will be a waste of money and damages the atmosphere adding to that. If in case it goes beyond repair, find a way to re purpose it. This article might give you some inspiration to re purpose your old Gadgets and appliances. Also you can donate non working gadgets to upcycling artists who can put these into use for good. Not sure you can find such artists in your city or town but it’s always worth giving a try.
This is something we all heard of before. Recycling electronics or E-waste refers to the process of extracting core parts of E waste such as PCB boards, plastics, Coils, Gold and much more. This is something which you cannot do on your own. This is where Recycling centers come into picture. You have to understand the fact Recycling E-waste is different from Recycling plastics or paper. So in case of E-Waste we just can’t settle to our local recycling centers. We need to take the E-waste to recycling centers which specializes in handling E-waste.
It’s a common practice in many developing countries where unauthorized recycling centers take the E-waste, then extract the elements which makes money and dumps the rest in landfills or throws them away or hand it over to non specialists. This practice not only affects the environment but also impacts the health of labors who gets involved in this process. So next time when you take out your E-waste make sure the Recycling facility is properly certified to handle them. You will probably find certified Recycling centers in your city from Government websites or any forums as such. It just takes an extra effort from individuals to find certified recycling centers and take it to them.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT E-WASTE RECYCLING CENTER:
Responsible Recycling starts with knowing your Recycling center very well before you hand out your E-waste. As already discussed in this article not all Recycling centers are capable of handling E-waste. So you have to make a little bit of research to handle the E-waste in best efficient way possible. The best possible way to identify a responsible recycling center is to look for certified Recycling centers. There are governing bodies to oversee the E-waste recycling centers and certify them to meet the safety and quality standards to recycle the E-waste safely without impacting environment and humans. One of the popular Certifications is Responsible Recycling also known as R2 which is awarded to recycling centers who exhibits the quality of handling the E-waste responsibly. If you come across any E-waste Recycling centers check if they possess this certification and if they do you can hand over your E-waste knowing that it will be responsibly recycled.
Another possible way to identify Recycling centers is that you can check the database in your Government and local governing body websites where they maintain a database of the authorized recycling centers who can do this job the right way. R2 is globally recognized standard for E-waste recycling similarly there are other standards that can indicate safe recycling. Best thing is to check your government website or get in touch with officials to know about the Go to place for E-waste recycling in your locality.
DIRECTORIES OF RECYCLING CENTERS:
I have found the below directories that lists the E-waste Recycling centers all around the world. However I strongly suggest you to check the authenticity of their capability in handling E-waste.
The amount of Information I have obtained is very minimal and am working to improve this list. Just in case if you come across a directory that lists Recycling centers kindly let me know via this Contact us page. I will make sure to add that in the above list.
We at Gadgetronicx trying to educate our readers about adverse effects of E-waste and the need to follow the 3R mantra to combat the war against E-waste. Today is our 7th year anniversary and we are gonna dedicate the next year in coming up with new initiatives to reduce the E-waste on a personal level. Kindly share this with your friends, we will be constantly updating this page with more information on E-waste and how to handle them, do bookmark this page and do check later.
“Let’s kick some E-butt”