We were in a high school this week to discuss sustainable careers and the topic of electronic waste was the hot topic.
What is it? What damage does it cause? How can we reduce it? These were just some of the many valid questions we received from the pupils we spoke to.
These days, it’s hard to imagine a world without electronics. It seems that we use electronic devices to do just about everything: cook our food, do our hair, even brush our teeth. And that’s all without even touching the entertainment sector. But with all of these fantastic new and prevalent products comes electronics waste. ICT Reverse is dedicated to protecting the world from e-waste, including through education. We believe that, the more people learn more about e-waste and the global cost of electronic waste, the better we can work together to responsibly discard our old electronic products which is why we have produced the blog below today.
What Is E-Waste and Why Is it Important?
Have you ever wondered wat to do with your old electronic equipment? Do you have an old laptop or desktop computer lying around? What about your mobile phones that become obsolete when you get the new version? Your old circuit boards certainly aren’t doing anyone any good, so what now?
All of these products are examples of e-waste. E-waste is any electronic product that’s no longer needed or wanted, whether it’s because something new was purchased or simply because it stopped working.
While it’s normal for products to run their course and exceed their lifespans, old electronics pose a serious issue of how to best dispose of them.
So in homage to the pupils of Our Lady’s High School in Lancaster here are a few quick facts for you that can help you understand and contribute to a bigger solution.
1. E-Waste Can Harbor Toxic Materials
Many of today’s electronics use some kind of toxic material, which can include:
When these materials are used in electronics for everyday life, they’re okay. But fast-growing e-waste often gets stored in landfills where the materials can dissolve and leave traces of toxic materials in nature.
This is called leaching.
2. Leaching Can Poison Water
The earth has limited resources, and water is included in that. We expect to have clean water available to us at all times, but have you ever wondered about the effects of e-waste on water? The reality might be more frightening than you realize.
When leaching happens under landfills with e-waste, the toxic waste materials that build up can leak into the water found underground.
in an electronic product that people throw away, there could be metals such as cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, and mercury.
People who come into direct contact with these toxic chemicals over time risk developing debilitating neurological and physical conditions. Contaminated groundwater ultimately ends up in larger bodies of water and comes into contact with humans. The conditions people can develop from using contaminated water include Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and cancer.
3. Recycling Saves Energy
The energy saved by recycling e-waste is enough to power thousands of households for an entire year. While most people think of recycling as a time and energy-intensive process, it can really save both energy and time.
Did you know that recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,600 homes per year?
That statistic may sound insane, but it’s true. Simply by recycling electronics, not only can we minimize e-waste, but we can save energy and minimize costs.
4. E-Waste Ends Up in Other Countries
When cellphones and stereos go to die, they aren’t recycled like we would all prefer. Instead, they go into landfills – that much we already know.
But did you know that most of our landfills are located in Asia and Africa?
Our harmful waste is not just harming our own country; it’s harming the world.
5. Tons of E-Waste Is Thrown Out Each Year
The amount of e-waste in the world is growing at an alarming rate. According to a report published by the United Nations, only 17.4% of e-waste created in 2019 was actually recycled, with the United States creating 6.92 million tons of e-waste in the same year.
That was just 2019.
There are quite literally tons of electronic waste discarded and thrown away every single year.
6. A Very Small Amount of E-Waste is Currently Recycled
Only about 12.5 percent of all e-waste is currently being recycled. That leaves the rest of these materials in landfills, which only continue to build up and release more toxins into nature.
Some electronics are burned and melted down in incinerators, but this method also releases toxins into the air.
7. E-Waste Makes Up Most Toxic Waste
In a striking statistic, e-waste accounts for about 70 percent of all toxic waste in the world. Considering how much toxic waste exists around the globe, this is a stunning realization to come to, and it happens due to the way we discard old electronics.
8. E-Waste is Contributing to the Rapid Price Rise in Metals
Many technologies use rare metals in their products, but the irresponsible discarding of these products is leading to a rise in the cost of these metals.
For every one million cell phones thrown out, there are about 250 kg of silver, 24 kg of gold, and 9 tons of copper that could have been recovered.
9. E-Waste Is Worth Billions
Experts estimate that e-waste is worth at least $62.5 billion. That amount is larger than the gross domestic product of most countries in the world.
10. E-Waste Is Expected to Double
According to the World Economic Forum, e-waste is expected to double and will continue to grow exponentially if nothing is done to mitigate the issue.
That is, if nothing changes in the way we dispose of electronic waste, it will simply continue to pile up and poison the world around us.
The amount of e-waste that is created globally is expected to double between 2014 and 2030.”
11. All Electronics Are Recyclable
It is estimated that more than 70% of people throw away their cell phones immediately after buying a new one even though they could be repaired. Whereas, only 20 percent of that material was recycled or composted.
Almost every form of electronics has at least one recyclable, salvageable part to it.
Most electronics include materials like glass, metals, and plastic – all of which we can collect and repurpose. In truth, there are far too many electronics being thrown away that still have value to them.
With the dominance of electronic devices in our communities and our knowledge about the damage they can cause it is more important than ever that we look to reduce e-waste wherever we can.
More and more firms are now beginning to understand the need to reuse and recycle and that is where ICT Reverse comes in. We have almost 20 years of experience in dealing with e-waste in the most sustainable way possible with zero to landfill tolerance policy and we can help all companies with their sustainability plans. Nearly every form in the country will have a store cupboard or more of old IT just hanging around that could be recycled.
If this is you then give us a call and we can help. Let’s work together to strive for a better future for the children of Our Lady’s High School, their children and their children’s children.
Fort an informal chat why not contact ICT Reverse today.