As technology has become increasingly ingrained into almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives, one has to wonder what happens to our devices and machines after they become obsolete and we move on to the next “big” thing? According to a United Nations University report, global e-waste will rise by 38% in the coming decade. In the year 2019, 53.6 million tons of e-waste was generated, a nearly 21% increase in just five years. Americans alone contributed to 13.1 million tons of that e-waste.
According to the EPA, electronic waste isn’t just a problem globally, but also happens to be the fastest-growing category of solid waste in the United States. Less than 18% of the total e-waste generated in 2019 was collected and recycled, and it’s estimated that the United States produces more electronic waste than any other country. Sadly, this number is only expected to rise in the years to come.
What is e-waste? What danger does it pose, and what should we do?
Electronic appliances or products that are old, discarded, reached the end of their usable life can be categorized as e-waste or electronic waste, e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, music devices, TVs, etc. Devices can not and should not be placed in the trash can with your normal waste. They must be disposed of properly so as to not cause more damage to the environment. If not handled appropriately, you could possibly be fined.
Advancements in technology have changed our lives for the better, but it also comes with challenges. With a high consumption rate of electronic devices, their short life cycle, a few repair options, e-waste is the fastest-growing hazardous waste stream. The most common discarded toxic elements include lead, lead oxide, cadmium, nickel, mercury, antimony. Such toxic elements harm our environment by adversely impacting the water, soil, air on which all living beings, including birds, animals, and we are dependent on.
What can be done?
It is important to remember that once devices become old or outdated, they can still be useful to others. By donating or refurbishing these items, they can help less fortunate people or organizations. Alternatively, recycling devices can prevent e-waste and reduce the associated environmental impact by keeping it out of landfills. Consciously reducing electronic waste helps save energy, reduce pollution, and decrease the number of raw materials needed to make new devices.
The devices that still work can be used for digital storage space, offered up on second-hand markets, or donated to schools and even churches. Although it may seem unconventional, upcycling old electronics is another option. This has become a popular trend as people find alternative uses for products. There are many resources online with ideas and step-by-step directions that will tell you how to do this.
We are all responsible for our carbon footprint, and by limiting the number of electronic devices you own helps doing your part. Maintaining devices you have will make them last longer, which again will keep them out of a landfill. Lastly, look for an enviro-friendly label when purchasing new products.
When electronics or appliances no longer work, it is necessary to dispose of them properly. Many states and retail stores will offer collections for unwanted electronic devices, including TV’s, computers, batteries, and more. If you are interested, you can find an electronic recycling center near you by following this link. When unsure of how to get rid of other large appliance items, it’s best to let professionals handle recycling e-waste. Fortunately, Green Planet Hauling is always an appointment away.
Today, we have access and means to solve these problems, especially junk removal and cleaning concerns. It is evident we are not making enough effort to reduce the amount of e-waste we produce. We need to be aware and make more responsible choices to help solve these issues. Contributing to processes that are healthier for the environment we can save valuable resources, reduce waste costs, and make a positive impact on the community and a global level. Junk hauling helps make our planet green again, and Green Planet Hauling will provide the best service for all your needs in Orange County.