Digital devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops are becoming increasingly problematic for the environment because, when they reach the end of one‘s useful lives, they generate nearly 50 million tonnes of technological waste each year, with a recycling rate of only about a quarter of that amount.
Improving it is critical to slowing climate changes & preventing environmental damage.
The Different Kinds Of Electronic Waste
How many different mobile phones have you owned during your life?
The solution to this issue will help you comprehend the environmental impact of e-waste, or electronic trash. Approximately every 15 months, according to MarketWatch, customers replaced their mobile phones in 2018.
Any gadget driven by electrical energy which has reached the end of its useful life is considered electronic trash by the Organization of Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD).
As a result, we’re not only talking about mobile phones. Examine some of the several types of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment that are now in use, as defined by a European Union directive, including:
• Refrigerators, freezers, and other types of cooling equipment
• Computers & telecommunications equipment.
• Consumer electronic devices, as well as solar-powered devices
• TVs, monitors, and screens are all types of displays.
• LED bulbs are a type of light bulb.
• Vending machines.
The World’s Problem With Technological Waste Can Be Summarised as: globally, 48.5 million tonnes of electronic waste were generated in 2018, according to a United Nations report.
This figure emphasises the growing necessity of better waste management, dumpster rental and recycling, that also reveals some concerning statistics: just 20% of this garbage is recycled, which is a disturbingly low statistic. If we continue in this manner, the United Nations forecasts that we would have generated 120 million tonnes of electronic waste by 2050.
The amount of e-waste created around the world, combined with poor recycling management, poses a threat to the environment. Cadmium, lead oxide, lead, antimony, nickel, and mercury are just a few of the chemicals that are present in these discarded objects.
Rivers, lakes, and seas become contaminated as a result of these poisonous elements that may be brought by dumpster rentals or other means, which also emit chemicals into the atmosphere which disrupt earth’s ecosystems. This means that moving away from current production and consumption models that generate excessive electrical waste cannot be pushed off any longer.
One of the solutions to this waste management problem is responsible consumption, which can help extending the usable life of products and decreasing the increase of this waste.
According to the CEO of a Pittsburgh dumpster rental company, “the reuse of electronic items is the only alternative available to us in the face of an ineffective recycling system” in order to limit the amount of electronic waste produced. In 2014, this Pennsylvanian company chose electronic restoration over traditional refurbishment and was recognised as one of the most inventive in Pittsburgh.
How Can We Decrease The Amount Of Technological Waste?
Using an increasing number of devices & replacing them on a more frequent basis. In order to change this habit, it is necessary to engage both the customer who will be less vulnerable to marketing methods that stimulate consumption — and the manufacturing industry, which is increasingly embracing principles such as ecodesign.
Specialists in electronic recycling urge that gadgets that are still in working order be passed down to friends or family members, or that they be sold on the second-hand market. It is also possible to donate them to charitable organisations that specialise in this field.
When a device is no longer functional and there is no chance that it will be used by someone in the immediate vicinity, recycling should be considered. If a consumer wants to recycle an old item, he or she can drop it off at the store where the new one is being purchased or at a company that deals in electronic recycling.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 12 emphasises the need of “ensuring sustainable consumption & production patterns.”
To achieve environmentally acceptable management of discarded electronic devices throughout its life cycle, as well as decreasing the release of toxins into air, water, and soil in order to minimise their detrimental influence on human health and the environment, is essential.
Profits Derived From The Recycling Of Technical Waste
As reported by Environmental Science and Technology magazine in 2019, mining minerals from natural sources is 13 times more expensive than recovering minerals from technological wastes for use in manufacture of new devices, which means that mining minerals from natural sources is the more expensive option.
To obtain minerals such as platinum, copper, and palladium, in addition to digging them up & processing them, large amounts of water & energy must be used in the process, which is extremely inefficient.
This is where the notion of circular economy plays a part, which is based on the utilisation of materials derived from recycled objects and a reduction in reliance on the extraction of virgin resources.
It is not only beneficial to the environment to recycle electrical devices; it also has a number of other advantages.
It is estimated that if these goods were properly recycled, they could generate opportunities worth more than $62.5 billion yearly and create millions of new jobs around the world, according to the International Telecommunication Union.
In light of this, both this organisation & the United Nations have set themselves the goal of increasing worldwide recycling to 30% by 2020, and reaching 50% in countries that have enacted legislation on e-waste by 2025.
Bad practises and ewaste pollution the processing of electronic-waste is a hindrance, and curiously, these are prevalent in those countries which generate the greatest amount of it, such as the United States.
Southeast Asia & Sub-Saharan Africa that are having a negative influence on the environment due to a lack of appropriate infrastructure. The most prevalent of the unlawful ways is what is known as “informal recycling,” which involves the use of harmful items in the open air as well as acid baths.