E-Waste Facts We All Need to Know

With the growing pressure and threat to our planet, there is the need to be aware of our environment and what happens to it. A substantial amount of waste has accompanied technological advances; this is so for the electronics industry. Our home and office gadgets such as smartphones, laptops become wastes when they are spoilt or no longer in use. Such wastes are known as E-waste.

There are simple facts about e-waste that you need to know to be better aware of your environment. But before that, let’s get to e-waste recycling and why it is so important.

Why is Recycling E-Waste so Important?

Today, it is estimated that e-waste makes up 70 percent of all hazardous wastes in landfills.

Recycling is a mean of transforming our waste into reusable materials. Almost all e-wastes can be recycled.

So, why is e-waste recycling so important?

Recycling used electronic devices come with environmental and economic benefits. Recycling reduces pressure on our environment, health, and wellbeing.

Recycling helps us to recover the valuable parts of our used electronics and reuse them. Through this recycling process, we can prevent toxic chemicals from seeping into the soil and water environment when they pile up in landfills. Hence, the e-waste recycling process reduces land pollution.

Recycling helps to eliminate chemical substances present in e-waste, which are extremely hazardous to our health. They include mercury, lead, and cadmium.

Till today, only a small fraction of the entire e-waste generated globally end up in recyclers. This is why there is a need for us to step up the challenge against this threat to our planet. The good news is that prominent countries like the US have pushed their weight in support of the concept behind e-waste recycling.

However, most people don’t know that their used electronic devices can be recycled. Hence, we have a role to play in the area of educating the public on the dangers of e-waste and the need for recycling as a simple solution.

To improve e-waste recycling, we need to understand some e-waste facts.

Let’s get to 14 facts about e-waste that you need to know.

14 facts about E-Waste

There is no knowledge that is not power. The more we know about e-waste, the more we can help educate family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors about the challenges of electronic wastes and how they can help.

Let’s get to these e-waste facts;

  1. Data Security Issues

Deleting your data from electronic devices doesn’t it’s been destroyed, just that it’s been hidden from your view. It means that your data and other sensitive information can still be recovered from your cell phone, laptop or computer even after you discard them. Your data continues to live on. Hackers understand this fact, and that’s the reason they target discarded business hard drives.

  1. E-waste recycling Firms Are Security Experts

Recycling companies are trained on how to securely destroy data from smartphones, computer hard drives, and other electronic devices. Your personal information will be wiped completely from your electronic devices when you take them to a recycling firm. They also have full documentation of the destruction protocol as evidence.

  1. Incineration Doesn’t Work

Burning of e-wastes further mounts pressure on our environment. It releases toxic gases into the atmosphere leading to respiratory problems. While some developing countries adopt the incineration method as a means of solving the rising amounts of e-waste, it simply doesn’t work!

  1. Small Devices are a Problem

While we focus on the rather bulky computer monitors or television sets, it may surprise you to know that the small devices such as the tablets and smartphones are discarded at the highest rate. The small devices account for about 80% of the amount of e-waste being thrown away.

  1. Who Produces the Most e-waste?

Research has shown that most e-waste is generated by the US. About 11.7 million tons of e-waste was produced in 2014.

  1. Making New products

E-waste can be recycled and used to make a variety of other products. Such products include garden furniture, jewelry, and automotive parts. The battery components can be reused in new batteries.

  1. Energy Savings

It is easier to recycle e-wastes than mining for virgin ore to make new metals. A great deal of energy is saved each year from recycling electronic devices.

  1. Billions of Dollars Get Lost

Electronic devices contain a wide range of valuable materials such as silver, copper, nickel, and gold. When these devices are discarded, such materials, collectively amounting to billions of dollars, are lost in landfills. But by recycling, they are extracted and resold to manufacturers creating new products.

  1. Mobile Phone Use is Skyrocketing

There is a growing increase in the use of smartphones, laptop as technology advances each year. Today, we have more mobile phones than the earth’s population.

  1. Circuit Board Risks

Some components of electronic devices highly toxic and pose a health hazard. For example, the brominated flame retardant used in circuit Board and plastic casings which can lead to memory dysfunctions impaired learning, and memory loss.

  1. Losing Heavy Metals

In the US, discarded electronic devices contain up to 40% of heavy metals. Without recycling, manufacturers would have to rely on the more costly of mining virgin ore.

  1. Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is no news. Lead is a component of e-waste that can lead to paralysis or coma due to long-term exposure.

  1. Recycling Creates Jobs

Studies have shown that for every 10000 tons of computer waste recycled each year, 296 new jobs are created. The growth of the recycling industry around the globe will mean an increase in the number of new job opportunities.

  1. Low Recycling Rates

Today, the rate of e-waste recycling is very low. It’s been estimated that only about 20% of the entire e-wastes generated undergo the recycling process.

Bottom Line

Like every other waste generated from various human activities, e-waste constitutes a major problem and a threat to our environment. There is a need to work together in addressing this issue. We can start by educating people we know about e-waste hazards. We need to let them know the simple way to solve this threat; which is by taking all used electronics to a proven e-waste recycler.

Remember, every major challenge begins with each one of us recognizing the problem and doing what we can to make it better.

Steps to Responsible E-waste Management at Your School