Oh, old computers, gadgets, and other electronic devices. Disposing of them all carelessly without even thinking of its environmental repercussions remains a scathing problem for us. Yes, dumping of this E-waste into the environment causes the release of toxic materials out in the open.
According to the united nation’s initiative known as STEP (solving the E-waste problem), the electronic waste contains hazardous chemicals, lead, mercury, quantities of arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, and Polyvinyl chloride to be found.
All the above ingredients contained in E-waste are extremely harmful which may cause cancer, reproductive disorders, endocrine disruptions and numerous other health problems. The pollutants can accumulate in the food chain and cause a lot of problems for the future generations.
However, we as humans never going to stop using the electronic devices, and in the future dependence on the usage of electronic goods are only going to go up significantly, This further exacerbates the need to sensibly address the management of E-waste. But the trouble is that most of the time the E-waste couldn’t be properly recycled. Even in America only 15-20% of the E-waste actually gets recycled, remaining gets dumped or buried in landfills. So this points out a very grave situation that recycling of E-waste is not proper even in the most advanced nation like the United States of America. So just imagine the poor level of preparedness in other nations to mitigate the E-waste problem.
Management of E-waste
The proper collection of E-waste is the only solution possible to manage the E-waste problem. The main sources of E-waste emanate from household, offices and businesses houses. Especially in developing nations the e-waste collections is usually done by informal sector with no proper legislation in place. So forming strict rules and procedures to tide over the crisis should be the first step to tackle the electronic waste problem.
The dismantling and segregation of e-waste in developing countries are the biggest problems. Residential wastes and commercial wastes are separately dismantled into various components and should be later used for resale and reuse.
Reuse & Recovery:
The only solution for reducing the incidence waste is through repairing and reusing appropriately thus by extending its useful life. Also, these obsolete electronic devices can be transported to others areas for use where there is lack of resources. Also precious metals, others electronic components found in electronic devices can be reused to make new devices.
The recycling processes usually have low recycling rates. After the extraction of precious in the recycling process and remaining wastes gets dumped in landfill areas. So a clear cut strategy is required to handle the disposal wastes. Manufactures of electronic goods should adopt environment-friendly methods to start collecting these wastes and evolve methods to reuse the waste for manufacturing new devices.
Also, check “5 things minimalism taught me”
Websites that recycle e-waste in India
How to reduce e-waste?
Repair or upgrade instead of recycling:
Instead of buying a new electronic item, if something goes wrong in your electronic device always try to repair and fix it before deciding on a new one. If in case you really need an upgrade, try replacing individual components instead of changing the entire thing. Before opting for a new one it is better to seek the advice from experts.
Donate old item and buy used items:
Always donate the old item and start buying the used one. Also, manufactures needs to promote the customers to donate their old electronic devices back to the company or dealer from which they bought the electronic goods, any company should take it back from the dealers and can consider reusing the components while manufacturing new devices.
Refurbishing and leasing:
Those items taken back by the manufacturer should be inspected to make sure they still function. So when you buy refurbished items, as a consumer you can save money as well as reduce e-waste.
All the above measures only work well if all the stakeholders, like manufacturer, distributor and end consumers behave responsibly towards the environment by adopting best practices in promoting the reduction of waste by implementing some conscious decisions in their daily lives.
*A guest post by Mr.Prakash*