What is E-Waste and What Can I Do about It?

At some point, we all have to get rid of our outdated or broken electronics. Think about how many cell phones, televisions, computer monitors, microwaves, copiers, printers and other electronics you have gone through in your life time. So what happens to your old electronics when you discard them?

The waste from trashed electronics, now widely referred to as e-waste, usually ends up in landfills where toxic substances that are commonly used in electronics can contaminate the soil, water and air. Some of these toxins include lead, cadmium and mercury, all of which can be dangerous to humans and other organisms.

With the U.S. being a technological giant, it’s no surprise that we generate more e-waste than any other country. Because technology is always being updated, everything from computers to cell phones, to televisions and microwaves are being outdated and discarded, making e-waste the fasted growing component of our waste system. Studies have estimated that in the next few years between 300 and 600 million computers (including laptops) will have become obsolete. Currently, most computers and electronics are not recycled or disposed of properly and end up in landfills.

However, because of numerous studies done on the hazardous effects of e-waste, there has been some progress made in the U.S. Legislation in some areas has made several steps to promote electronic recycling. For example, the state of California has deemed certain electronics hazardous, which means that some electronics, like televisions and monitors cannot be disposed of in municipal trash. Steps like these can help to encourage people to recycle their electronics by letting them know the hazardous consequences of e-waste, but many people want to do more.

If you are interested in helping to reduce e-waste, there are several things you can do. First of all, remember the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce the amount of e-waste that you could accumulate through reasonable purchasing. Buy more sustainable electronics that you will not have to replace as often. Reuse your electronics that are still working by donating them to an organization that accepts them or giving them directly to someone that could use them. Just because you upgraded to a new printer, copier, monitor or whatever doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t appreciate what you might discard.

Last of all is to recycle. As people become more and more aware of the potentially devastating effects of e-waste, more and more recycling centers are opening. Search online for a recycling center in your area that will take your non working electronics and feel good about doing your part to reduce e-waste. SABUNG AYAM