Would you believe that we produce 20 million tons of electronic wastes alone each year? When all these wastes end up in a landfill, we’ll really be in a big trouble because it will cause illnesses and even death. That’s because e-waste may contain chemicals such as lead, mercury, barium, cadmium and beryllium. It’s a big issue in both developed and developing countries.
What is e-waste?
Electronic wastes are waste, unwanted electronic products—used or unused. This includes business waste such as Xerox machine, fax machine, computers and monitors, television and other electronic devices used in business transactions and communication. Other e-waste products are household furniture such as refrigerator, microwave oven, electric heaters, electric fan, game consoles, and mobile phones and so on.
One of the reasons why we produce too much electronic waste is because we upgrade too often. Companies that are manufacturing electronic products upgrade their products too often. Just take a look at your mobile or smart phone. Just a year from now, you would probably buy another one with more features to keep up with the trend. And, have you noticed how easy these gadgets are damaged? Television are also easily damaged. 40 to 50 years ago, television set was used for many many years. And you wouldn’t have to worry about it being fixed because they were manufactured to last for decades. This proves that electronics nowadays are manufactured with a shorter lifespan.
Normally, we change our mobile phones everytime something is new and out on the market without thinking about e-waste disposal. If all of us will do the same thing, just imagine the electronics waste we could produce in a year or so? If your phone has all the same features as the latest in the market, why change it? Of course, we have the option to buy, and since the young generation is used to such changes, they always wait for the latest trend in gadgets. This is something that we common people can’t control. This is where e-waste disposal come in.
Electric waste is also a big problem in the U.S. In fact, EPA estimates that in the US, only about 25% e-waste is being placed in electronics recycling. Actually, this issue is one of the least talked about issues. It shouldn’t be because it is now a global crisis. We can contribute to proper e-waste disposal.
Reuse – electronics that are no longer used in developed countries such as Japan, Korea and the US are being sold and reused. They can either be converted or upgraded. Examples of products that can be conveted are television and printers.
E-waste exportation– a lot of waste electronics are sent to other countries that will take care of waste disposal. The problem with this is developing countries who receive electronic waste are also having issues with their own waste materials.
E-waste recycling- Recycling helps to minimize e-waste disposal problem. The problem is that only a percentage of the total electronic waste can be recycled.
Landfills- Much of our waste ends up in landfills. This is where much of the problem about e-waste disposal comes in. Most of the electronic waste contains hazardous chemicals. We may not feel its effect on our nervous system right now, but the truth is that these chemical waste can gradually cause illness and the worst thing that can happen is death caused by these electronic waste.