Electronic waste has become a huge talking point in the 21st century. We live in a modern era where companies constantly redesign and reproduce electronic devices to increase performance. Although this has significantly improved the way of life, it has also resulted in too much electronic waste ending up in landfills. But what exactly are electronic wastes?
What Are E-Wastes
Electronic waste, or E-waste, refers to any discarded electronic or electrical device. This term covers everything from functional electronics to damaged devices that end up in the garbage or charity resellers. Other retailers also throw away electronic items that go unsold for a long time, which end up in trash bins and landfills. These electronic wastes are extremely harmful to the environment due to the hazardous compounds that leak from the components once exposed to natural elements.
Some of the most common electronic wastes include:
- Home appliances
- Communication and IT devices
- Home entertainment devices
- Office and medical equipment
- Electronic utilities
The struggle to find the best way to get rid of electronic waste is not recent. Environmentalists have tried to figure it out since the late 20th century but haven’t succeeded. Unfortunately, much has changed since then, with many more electronic devices ending up in landfills than ever.
One of the best ways to minimize electronic waste is recycling. Here are the positive impacts of recycling electronics:
Advantages of Recycling Electronics
Promotes Cleaner Environment
One of the greatest benefits of recycling electronics is a safer environment for us and all its inhabitants. As mentioned earlier, the electronic waste contains harmful materials that can leach into the environment, including waterways and food. For instance, lighting devices, such as fluorescent tubes, contain mercury that can cause mercury poisoning if it ends up in drinking water or food.
When you recycle electronic waste, manufacturers can recover these harmful substances and reuse them to manufacture other devices. That promotes a cleaner environment since fewer of these hazardous materials will end up in landfills and the environment.
Saves Landfill Space
Besides promoting a cleaner environment, recycling electronic waste can save landfill spaces. As companies generate better electronic devices, the number of discarded ones is growing at a significant rate each year. It is quite unfortunate that these unwanted electronics end up in landfills.
Recycling significantly minimizes the amount of waste that gets disposed into landfills. Recyclers can strip these electronic devices into recyclable and non-recyclable components. The recyclable components are reused, while non-recyclable ones are disposed of properly. That helps save space in landfills as only items that cannot be recycled end up in them.
Saves Natural Resources
Companies use natural resources (metals) to generate components for electronic devices. With the ever-rising demand for new and improved devices, manufacturers are slowly depleting these natural resources.
Recycling electronic waste helps save natural resources since it reduces the need for manufacturers to refine raw materials for use in new devices. Some materials, such as copper wires and glass, can be reused several times, which can help ensure little to no material goes to waste.
Improves Circular Economy
Recycling electronics also helps promote a circular economy model. But what exactly is a circular economy?
A circular economy refers to a model of production and consumption that involves sharing, repairing, and reuse of products for as long as possible. It helps ensure electronic resources are handled more responsibly while reducing virgin resource extraction and minimizing waste pollution.
For instance, electronics, such as laptops, can be professionally remanufactured and resold. This economy model has become increasingly popular around the globe – that’s why there are a lot of refurbished phones and laptops in the market today.
Recycled electronics are relatively cheaper than brand-new ones. As such, recycling electronic waste can be a reliable way to increase the affordability of essential electronic devices.
Many people get rid of their electronic devices when they want to upgrade to newer, better versions. In many cases, these devices are in good condition and reusable by another person. By donating to charity, reselling them in a second-hand store, or contacting an ITAD company, individuals can ensure affordability since recycled electronics are relatively cheaper than new ones.
Helps Reduce Air Pollution
Besides improving affordability, corporate computer recycling or just any electronic recycling can help minimize air pollution. As mentioned, these products are manufactured using a wide range of hazardous materials. For instance, li-ion batteries produce over 100 toxic gases that can significantly cause harm if they end up in a landfill.
Recycling these electronic devices ensures that manufacturers can use reusable materials to manufacture other products while properly disposing of non-reusable ones. So, instead of these devices ending up in a landfill and causing air pollution, they can be refurbished and resold at a more affordable price.
Increase in Employment
Recycling electronics also help increase employment. When you think about it, it will take only one person to get rid of tons of trash – but several people get involved in sorting and preparing reusable materials for remanufacturing.
Once these materials are ready, another group will get involved in the manufacturing and repurposing. It is estimated that recycling creates 30 times more jobs than landfills. So, instead of throwing those electronics into the trash, consider recycling options and create new jobs for people in the community.
Removes Data Appropriately
With the increasing rate of cybercrimes, it is extremely important to keep your personal data safe. For that reason, it is essential to completely remove data from your electronic devices before throwing them away.
Often, people assume they have eliminated data from their computers or phones after deleting them. Unfortunately, you need special software and an expert’s help to clear a device of any personal data.
Disposing of your electronic gadgets using the right channels is key to ensuring your data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. Before these individuals recycle your devices, they remove any personal data to ensure nothing traces back to you.
Recycling our electronic waste offers a wide range of benefits – but the most important is maintaining a cleaner environment for future generations. It is important to choose sustainable electronics if you want to take part in the efforts to improve recyclability and minimize carbon emissions. Regardless of how small your effort may seem; it is an important step towards a better future for us and our kids!