We refer to electronic waste as E-waste. It is a new form of waste, which is there due to the advancement of technology. As E-waste comprises of toxic components, those, which we use in devices such as television, computers, refrigerators, mobile phones, music devices, etc. It is crucial to make sure that we recycle these and keep them away from the environment. Each year, people dump an astounding 20-50 million tons of E-waste into the landfills around the world. Furthermore, this figure continues to grow year on year, due to the rapid growth of applied technology to which attract the consumers and tend to shift them from one device to the other. Keeping in mind all these, E-waste recycling emerges as the only solution.
Devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras are constantly getting new and better features with better usability. In addition, it is because of this progression, that we see personal technology devices entering the landfills every now and then. Now, let us have a look at some of the facts surrounding the E-Waste recycling.
18 – Lesser-known facts about e-waste recycling:
1. The gargantuan amount of E-Waste:
Approximately 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated around the world in the year 2014. It comprised of small equipment of 12.8 million tons, large equipment of 11.8 million tons, temperature exchange equipment of 7.0 million tons, screens and monitors of 6.3 million tons, small IT and lamps of 3.0 million and 1.0 million tons respectively.
2. Amount of E-Waste recycling:
Out of the total e-waste in 2014, only 6.5 million tons underwent recycling by the national electronic take-back systems.
3. Government’s negligence:
At present, we recycle only 15-20% of the total e-waste. According to the reports by United Nations, out of the total e-waste in 2014, only 16% was underwent recycling by the government agencies.
4. Daily waste:
As per the reports by EPA, on daily basis, we scrap more than 142,000 computers and 416,000 mobile devices.
5. It is exported:
80% of the total E-waste in the US is goes to the Asian countries. Most of the times, US exports the E-waste to developing countries such as China, Malaysia, Kenya, India and various African countries. The leniency in their environmental regulations makes it profitable to treat e-waste in these countries.
6. Leads to pollution:
Lack of control over the e-waste recycling methods can cause water pollution, air pollution and other health hazards to those who are under its direct impact.
7. Contains valuable substances:
Apart from the harmful substances, E-waste also contains the ones that can be reclaimed such as copper and gold. Americans tend to throw $60 million worth of silver and gold every year.
8. Largest E-Waste site in the world:
The largest E-waste site in the world is Guiyu, which is based out in China. Moreover, with 1,50,000 workers onboard and 16 hours of the average work day, it receives a shipment containing toxic waste from both domestic as well as international sources.
9. Recycling per gadget:
According to EPA, in 2007, roughly 26 million Television sets were scrapped in the United States. In addition, in 2009, no more than 8% of mobile phones, 17% of Television sets and 38% of computers were recycled.
10. Consumers buying more gadgets:
As per ‘isupply’, in the year 2010, approximately 1.56 billion consumer electronics were brought. This number went up to 1.6 billion units in the very next year.
11. Huge water requirement in computer production:
It was identified that producing a computer along with a monitor requires at least 1.5 tons of water, 48 lbs of chemicals along with 530 lbs of fossil fuels.
12. Scope of jobs:
As per a study, recycling 10,000 tons of only computer waste can create 296 jobs in a year.
13. High gadget production:
Globally, around one billion mobile phones and 300 million computers are produced.
14. Growing at an accelerated rate:
The amount of E-waste generated globally is expected to grow by 8% each year.
15. Contains toxic elements:
Some of the toxic elements found in e-waste are barium, cadmium lead, phosphorous, as well as brominated flame retardants.
Many stores offer a collection of batteries for recycling. Even mobile phone companies offer taking up old cell phones for refurbishing and recycling. It is highly recommended that you do a proper research before taking up the decision of disposing of the e-waste generated in a landfill. There are chances that you might find a manufacturer who is willing to take it up.
5 – Best places to recycle your tech waste
1. Mobile Phone Recycling
Mobile phone companies across the world usually offer a “buy back” option of the used mobile in lieu of the new handset. Motorola in this regard came up with a “Race to Recycle” program that encouraged school students to earn money by recycling old mobiles. Furthermore, other organizations like Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, T Mobile offer a prepaid shipping label, available on their websites to help customer ship used mobile phone to their recycling units.
2. Computer Parts Recycling
Computer manufacturers like AT&T, Dell and Hewlett Packard and Intel offer programs like “Reuse and Recycle”, “Reconnect”, “Recycling and Donation”, “Asset Recovery Services” either to buy back computer parts, offer trade in services or discount vouchers to customers to encourage them to recycle their e-wastes discerningly.
3. Best Buy
A recycling major in the U.S, offers easy and convenient options to assist in recycling. In addition, Best Buy accepts all electronic items including TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, cell phones etc on a two items, per household per day basis. Old mobile phones, batteries, chargers, or printer cartridges can be dropped off at the recycling kiosks located in every best buy store or alluring schemes like “gifts cards” are available to trade in any electronic item for a new one.
4. Office Equipment recycling
EcoEasy, a recycling store in the U.S offers to buy electronics like computers, monitors, desktop copiers etc at a fee of $10 per item. Staples, another division houses recycling bins in their stores to collect small hand held items like PDAs, chargers, ink cartridges, cell phones etc. Office Depot, another major offers “Tech Recycling Boxes” ranging from $5-$15 depending on size that can be filled with cell phones, PDAs, televisions etc and dropped at their collection centers for recycling.
5. Electronic Recyclers International
The largest electronics recycler in North America offers environmental safe dismantling of electronic wastes with their high capacity technologically advanced shredding systems. Moreover, here products like televisions, monitors, laptops, LCDs, medical equipments, copier machines, servers, network devices, bulbs etc. are recycled and converted into commodities, plastic and glass.