How Can We Solve The Growing E-Waste Problem?
E-waste can lead to air and water pollution as well as soil contamination.
- By Ronie Salazar
- Oct 26, 2022
E-waste is not a new problem. It's been around since the early 2000s. However, recent studies have shown that e-waste is growing faster than ever before. By 2030, it is predicted that humans will produce 74 million tons of electronic garbage annually. Wealthier countries often export the issue, leaving developing ones to deal with the consequences. It's time for us all to take action on this growing problem by educating ourselves about what can be done and implementing sustainable solutions at home and in our communities.
What's the E-Waste Problem?
The e-waste problem is a global one. E-waste refers to electrical and electronic equipment that has been retired or discarded, including phones, computers, and monitors. The term "e-waste" encompasses all devices associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes everything from smart speakers to smart meters and even high-tech cars. Sadly, this growing problem is not going away anytime soon—and it seems to be getting worse by the day.
The e-waste issue isn't just about recycling or reusing our way out of this problem; it's also about hazardous materials like mercury being released into our environment when products are improperly disposed of or recycled in an unsafe way. While many companies have made efforts toward addressing this issue through initiatives such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs and takeback systems, there's still much more work to be done if we want our planet to be safe for future generations.
What are the Risks of E-Waste?
There are many ways that e-waste is harmful to the environment and human health. E-waste causes air pollution, as well as water pollution when it's dumped in landfills. It can also cause soil contamination when it leaches into groundwater sources or runs off into nearby waterways. The toxic chemicals that makeup e-waste are dangerous for humans and animals to ingest and may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing).
The impact of e-waste on wildlife is also significant because it reduces available territory for animals to live in and use as breeding grounds. In addition, animals often mistake broken electronics for food sources or other objects they can use. When an animal eats a piece of plastic from an old computer keyboard or drags around wires from an old printer cord thinking it's food, the results can be fatal or lead to internal injuries that prevent the healthy function of organs such as the liver or kidneys over time due to ingestion by small mammals such as mice which then pass those chemicals through their digestive systems before being consumed by larger mammals like foxes then eventually humans if this cycle continues long enough without intervention from outside sources like government regulations mandating recycling programs, etc.
We Can't Just Reuse or Recycle our Way out of this Problem.
Yes, we all need to do our part by recycling and reusing as much as possible—but it's not enough. To truly solve the growing e-waste crisis, we need to stop buying so much new stuff. We need to put more care into how we buy and use electronics: when we buy them; how long they last; what happens when they're done with their useful life. We also have to take responsibility for the impact of our actions on the world around us; instead of asking "what can government do?" or "why are corporations doing this?" let's ask ourselves: What can I do?
Hazardous Materials are Seriously Bad News
You might not know it, but electronic waste (e-waste) is a major source of toxic chemicals that can cause cancer and other health problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified five hazardous materials used in electronics: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and brominated flame retardants.
These are all pretty nasty chemicals. Hexavalent chromium is the chemical used to make chrome plating shiny—but when you start working with it regularly, you’ll have no choice but to breathe in its fumes every day for years at a time—and even then you may still end up with cancer by inhaling its dust particles through your nose or mouth during work activities like eating lunch or brushing your teeth.
How Can People Get Involved?
- Donate your old electronics to non-profit organizations like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
- Recycle your e-waste in your area. This is especially important if you live in a state that doesn't have legislation on the books for e-waste recycling, such as California. Find out what companies exist where you live and check the labels before tossing anything into the trash.
- If you're looking for a more sustainable solution to disposing of electronics, consider using an e-Steward certified recycler (like us!). This will ensure that all materials are recycled properly and responsibly. It's worth noting that there are over 5 million pounds of gold extracted from recycled electronics every year! That's just one reason why it's so important to recycle responsibly: we can save energy while also making money!
- Get involved in local government—if your city doesn't have specific regulations about recycling electronic waste yet, talk with people who could help establish those rules on behalf of the environment (or whatever issue matters most)!
It's Time for Us to Come Together as a Species and Tackle this Problem Head-On.
Here are some quick tips to lengthen the life of your laptops and increase the battery life of your smartphones:
Use online video compressors: This allows you to compress your videos into other formats like AVI to MP4 or MOV to MP4 without having to download any software on your computer or smartphone. This will save you space on your device while allowing you to access them from anywhere in the world as long as there's an internet connection available.
Reduce the number of apps and applications installed on your phone or tablet. If you have too many apps running at once, they can slow down your device and drain its battery faster than necessary.
We’ve made some great strides toward solving the e-waste problem, but we still have a long way to go. We need to be smart about our consumption habits and choose products wisely, while also working with local governments and recycling companies to ensure that our old electronics are properly disposed of. We can all do our part by learning more about what goes into making these devices, so that when it comes time for us to buy new technology—or upgrade something old—we’ll know exactly what questions we should ask before investing.
Ronie is from Veed. He’s an energetic content marketer with extensive experience in the digital realm. His curiosity and enthusiasm resulted in an ever-growing portfolio that encompasses anything from video editing jobs to distributing his creative work to top-notch websites. email@example.com