We live in a digital world. Technology is developing day by day and so are the devices we use daily. As people feel the need to keep up, an average person replaces their phone or other electronic devices at least once every 3 years. That means there is a lot of E-Waste produced every year. Devices such as old computer equipment, stereos, televisions, or mobile phones can often be recycled but there’s still a large amount of E-Waste that ends up in the landfills.
Only 20% of global e-waste is formally recycled and the remaining 80% often gets incinerated in landfills. In the U.S. the recycling rate is closer to 25% with much of the e-waste being shipped offshore.
In this article, we are going to give you 10 reasons why E-Waste Recycling is important.
- E-Waste contains high levels of precious metals-Electronic waste contains precious metals that are estimated at a 40 to 50 times richer value than the ores that are mined from the Earth. The majority of these precious get lost when electronics are simply thrown away. For example, it is estimated that only 10-15 percent of the gold found in e-waste is recovered for reuse or resale. Properly recycling and disposing of e-waste can increase the percentage of precious metals that are successfully recovered outdated electronics.
- E-Waste contains toxic substances-Many people think that throwing away a small amount of these toxic elements won’t hurt the environment. Many electronic devices contain toxic substances such as chromium, cadmium, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals contain toxic substances that can harm the environment in almost any sized quantity. Also, harmful toxins can cause reproductive disorders like cancer, endocrine disruption, and other serious health problems.
- Prevent international movement, contamination and exploitation-The high amount of e-waste has resulted in heightened levels of global contamination. Also, a large portion of e-waste is moved to third world countries where cheap labour and primitive disposal approaches increase the aforementioned health risks to residents. Additionally, workers are also often exposed to dangerous fumes when e-waste is broken down into scrap.
- Recycling e-waste can cut greenhouse gas levels-Is more electronics are recycled, the less need will need to be produced and greenhouse gas levels can be reduced significantly. Often, manufacturers are encouraged or even rewarded for building better, longer-lasting products that can be easily upgraded or recycled. That means, that if consumers are more educated about recycling their electronics, they will enjoy the economic rewards as well as the positive impact that it is going to have on the environment.
- EPR model can lead to innovative technology- The EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) can also benefit consumers. Manufacturers are capable of creating better electronic products for consumers when they also focus on raising their technological standards. In return, consumers can enjoy the benefits of longer-lasting electronic devices that can be upgraded instead of having to replace them frequently with new ones due to new software releases, product launches or hardware changes.
- EPR Model can create fairer consumption costs-EPR is also able to create a model for fairer consumption costs in addition to the environmental and consumer benefits. In layman’s terms, if the manufacturers and sellers include the cost of recycling into the product, then the consumers purchasing the products will inevitably pay for its safe disposal.
- Saves landfill space-E-waste takes up a large portion of landfills. According to a recent study by the EPA, there are an estimated 60 million metric tons of e-waste thrown into landfills worldwide each year. This can be reduced significantly by following the guidelines for recycling electronics to have a positive environmental impact for current and future generations.
- Green Job creation-One of the best things about recycling is that it can create more jobs, especially in the low-income areas where many of the recycling plants are located. It will be good both for the people who will be employed throughout the year and for the tons of e-waste that will be properly sorted, recycled reused, and inevitably disposed of properly each year.
- Data security and identity theft- Many people don’t know that if they simply throw away their personal electronic devices, they are more likely to experience data security breaches or have their identities stolen. A large amount of e-waste consists of electronic devices that are functioning but outdated. Whenever you want to get rid of your old electronic device, always make sure you delete all personal data from it before throwing it away.
- State Requirements-There is no federal law yet about e-waste being shipped abroad or thrown into landfills but 28 state laws have already placed a ban on e-waste in landfills.
How can consumers recycle their old electronics?
Depending on where they live, consumers have access to recycling opportunities. Although, if you have old electronics such as computers or other devices that are still functional you should consider donating them. Before donating, make sure you cleared all personal data from your device. Other recycling opportunities include authorized electronics recycler locations, electronics recycling events, or retail take-back programs.
Are you allowed to throw E-waste in the trash?
This can depend on the equipment and location. Check your state legislation, but please recycle. There are already several cities and communities that have policies that ban e-waste even if there is no such ban at the state level. Make sure to enlist the use of recyclers who are certified through either of the voluntary certification programs that have been established to ensure responsible recycling.
As you can see, e-waste takes up a large amount of space in landfills, which eventually will be incinerated and that can result in some serious health problems due to the toxic fume.
Recycling is very important nowadays, and a little step can mean a lot to have a positive impact on the environment
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