Why Proper E-Waste Disposal Is So Important
Companies and organizations, from manufacturing to department stores to the office complex, are under constant pressure to stay updated with the latest and biggest technology in order to streamline & automate tasks, protect financial information, store information, interact with others, and even keep backpack lunches cool in the summer. The rate at which technology is purchased, used, and discarded is staggering.
For many companies, however, this vicious consuming cycle is viewed as a sign of “progress”—one in which disposal is treated as an afterthought rather than as a priority.
Unfortunately, because of indifference, it is most commonly disposed of inappropriately as a result.
While it is difficult to estimate the exact amount of e-waste generated, one thing is certain: it will continue to grow in the coming years. Unfortunately, many devices are discarded at the expiration of their usable life (the median useful life differs by device, but the median phone is changed every two years) or in favor of the most recent upgrade or model available.
The solution is similar to that of other undesirable MSW. Electronic garbage is disposed of at landfills, sent to junk yards, or purchased for storage by third parties. Unwanted electronics from wealthy countries are transported to poorer nations, where a poor infrastructure to properly dispose of them frequently results in illegal dumping or burning of the garbage.
When it comes to consumer electronics, this technique is akin to a treasure-to-trash operation since consumers fail to see the true value of their once-cherished items. Many discarded electronics include valuable raw materials, such as gold, copper, platinum, and other metals, which could be repurposed for use in other electronic devices. For example, a projected $21 million (or more) in manifest content gold and silver is sitting in landfills around the world, entrapped in electronic equipment.
Furthermore, a lack of semiconductor chips is affecting manufacturing, and experts believe that the development of electric cars would stop if recycling for lithium ion batteries does not increase. These are all classified as recent precious commodities.
Electronics, in addition to containing precious materials, do have a dark side, as they contain a variety of potentially hazardous substances, such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, and flame retardants.
The role of e recycling lies at the heart of everything we’ve said thus far. Recycling electronics keep foreign objects out and local raw materials in by preventing them from being contaminated. Recyclable materials reduce the amount of raw material that needs to be collected from nature in order to build new gadgets, therefore lowering energy costs and helping to more environmentally friendly operations that promote the circular economy.