E-waste is a growing problem worldwide; a by-product of an ever-connected world that is constantly reaching for new and improved technology. This piece covers the three main questions surrounding e-waste, which are as follows:
What is it?
E-waste refers to any kind of waste that is, or is the product of an electronic device. This includes items like computer monitors, televisions, cell phones and computers, as well as consumable products of them, like batteries and printer cartridges. E-waste as a banner covers all these items and more, and it’s only increasing as new is preferred over old, and planned obsolescence forces consumers to shell out again and again for technology.
Why is it a problem?
Not all pieces of e-waste share the same components, but almost all of them feature finite resources and harmful chemicals, especially in screens and batteries. When these items are improperly disposed of, they end up in landfill, amongst countless other types of waste. The consequences of this are twofold.
One, the harmful components, like lead and mercury, can seep into soil and create significant environmental problems. This is even worse if e-waste is not in landfill, but simply dumped around the community area.
Two: the finite resources inside the devices or products cannot be recycled after disposal. In landfill, they meet the end of their life cycle and cease to be useful.
How can you dispose of e-waste?
There are many options for disposal. For mobile phones, printer cartridges and other small pieces of common e-waste, they can be recycled in specialty shops in most shopping centres. For larger items, it’s best to contact local waste management services and enquire about their e-waste programs. Most will have some kind of program in place to accept e-waste and ensure that recyclable elements are used, and anything else is disposed of in the most secure fashion possible.
[photo courtesy of: laprommoving.com]