Although you may hear about issues of the ocean being polluted, the ozone layer being depleted, and landfills running out of space, you may not hear about the issue of e-waste and some of the consequences of it. In this post, we will explore exactly what the e-waste problem is, and some common ways to contribute to solving the issue.
Table of Contents
What’s The Issue?
While the problem goes by many names, such as e-waste, e-scrap, or electronic waste, it essentially outlines electronic parts and pieces that are near, or at, their end of life cycle and cannot be used anymore. While these parts can be refurbished or recycled, they are sometimes not handled properly and are thrown into a landfill.
This is where much of the problem lies. As the EPA succinctly states, “Without proper standards and enforcement, improper practices may result in public health and environmental concerns, even in countries where processing facilities exist.”
One of the major environmental concerns is the leakage of highly toxic metals and fluids that are a part of the electronics that are not disposed of properly, such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. These elements can seriously damage the environment and even poison animals and humans.
So what are your options for helping to clean up e-waste and providing a healthier planet for all of us? Let’s survey a few options that you can implement right away.
It’s Not Trash, It’s Reusable
The first, and easiest, way you can reduce your e-waste footprint is to stop throwing your electronics away, as some companies will buy back your used electronics and recycle them. You can easily get rid of them by taking them to an electronic store that can refurbish them, a recycling plant that will turn your old device into something usable, or you can simply resell your old device online or to a friend.
Not viewing your old electronics as trash, but as a reusable resource, is the first step to not putting them into a landfill to pollute the earth–and not be used in other industries.
Make Sure Your Government is Aware
An article from Time notes that only, “Only 19 states have laws banning electronics from the regular trash.” That means all of the remaining states don’t have laws regulating e-waste in place, and as a member of one of those states, you need to ensure your government is aware of the issue at hand.
One surefire way to do this is by simply sending a letter to your local government body, be that your mayor or elected representative. By highlighting some of the issues we brought up here, you will help them see the severity of the issue and the need to combat it immediately.
Spread the Word
If contacting your local government is a bit too ambitious for you, the next best thing you can do is make your friends and family aware of the problem of e-waste. Many people simply aren’t aware of how much damage this kind of waste can cause and letting them know to recycle their electronics instead of throwing them out, can go a long way.
This is especially true if you present the problem in a kind way, not accusing anyone. As noted before, many people just aren’t aware of the issue. Sharing with them some of the information we linked to will go a long way to getting others to help save our environment, one computer at a time.