The world is going gaga over e-waste and it is potentially harmful effects if done improperly.Just a mere decade ago, we did not think too much about our cumulative electronic waste and the proper disposal of our personal devices. But now, for many justifiable reasons, it is a big deal. Every one of us is responsible for protecting the environmental from the impacts of the improper disposal of our electronic cast-offs.
For those who still do not know much about e-waste, it involves the outcome of our personal electronic gadgets (phones, computers, VCRs, fax machines, printers) which are either near or at the end of their useful life – candidates for being either reused, refurbished or recycled.
The Importance of E-Waste Management
Electronic cast-offs have plastic and glass casings that protect the circuit boards which are composed of a mixture of ferrous and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and copper. Some valuable elements can be found in these devices, precious metals such as gold, palladium, platinum and silver are also present in these electronics.
On the other hand, e-waste also contains some concerning toxic elements. Typically mercury, cadmium, chromium, selenium, and arsenic are embedded in many electronic gizmos. Proper recovery of these elements should be left to the e-waste management experts. Because, if mishandled these elements will seriously harm the environment. Proper e-waste recycling will ensure careful, impact-free recovery of both the toxic materials and the precious metals allowing them to be re-used and put to good use again – possibly in another, even more, helpful electronic device.
There are various approaches followed by e-waste managing organizations to complete their task. However, due to lack of recycling facilities, high labor expenses, and strict environmental regulations, in too many cases, developed nations export a healthy share of its e-waste to the developing countries where they are grossly mishandled, processed improperly, harming both the workers and local environment..
In many of these developing country cases, e-waste recycling involves burning and dissolution in strong acids with few measures to protect human health as well as the environment. Both the workers and those living nearby, and even downwind and downstream are exposed to harmful chemicals and gasses emitted from melting the e-waste. The landfilling, illegal dumping and incineration of e-waste all release harmful elements in the atmosphere will eventually cause health risks to us all.
Reducing Pollution through Recycling
Improper management of e-waste will quickly pollute the air, water, and soil and will take several decades and many, many cleanup dollars to return it to a healthful environment. Whereas, proper recycling reduces pollution and reduces the amount of e-waste that accumulates in the landfill, rivers, lakes, even our local parks, and streets. Solid waste material that ends up in landfills when burned emits methane gas, a greenhouse gas many times more harmful at trapping radiant heat than CO2. In addition, burning electronics releases harmful elements such as lead, barium, cadmium, mercury, brominated dioxin, and toxic phosphor into the soil and water.
The process of recycling used mobile phones and other electronic devices involves first the careful dismantling of the electronic gadget and then shredding the parts into pieces to sort and then extract the various materials. So before tossing that old electronic, consider your environmentally friendly options first.
Mathew Rogers is a dedicated blogger interested is in protecting our environment. He recognizes the importance of e-waste recycling and is committed to buidling awareness on how easy it is to do make a smart choice when looking to dispose of both your personal and office electronic devices. Check out his posts and the services of GizmoGrind.