Why is there an e-waste problem?
You may have heard about the increase in electronic waste, but why is there such an e-waste problem?
What is e-waste?
E-waste is short for ‘electronic waste’. It refers to any electrical item with a plug that has come to the end of its useful life.
The chances are that you don’t still have the first smartphone you ever owned, or you’re still watching a boxset of actual videos? As technology changes at such a mind-blowing rate, it leaves a host of redundant technology. This is all within less than a generation. The e-waste problem dates back to 1970’s and has grown exponentially over the last 50 years.
Why is there an e-waste problem?
There are several reasons why e-waste has become such a problem. One of the reasons is that there are not enough people to fix electronics. Other reasons are that technology has become virtually obsolete such as VCR, tapes and fax. In the age of digital media, we are constantly hungry for the latest model/ tech. In the past, it was the norm to keep TV’s and repair them if a part had stopped working. Now, we simply replace our gadgets in favour or newer tech. The average phone contract is just 24 months, by which time the phone starts struggling to cope with updates.
Once the gadget is rendered waste, if it is not recycled it becomes toxic waste. Many never think about what elements are contained inside a TV monitor, PC or mobile phone. Some of these elements need to be dismantled and handled carefully such as beryllium, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Other elements are highly valuable and can be easily recycled such as lithium, gold, silver, platinum and palladium.
The statistics on the amount of e-waste produced yearly is staggering. 40 million tons of e-waste is created each year around the world.
Dumping e-waste puts data at risk
Dumping e-waste is not only harmful for the environment, but also puts your company data security at risk. Hard drives containing company information could easily get into the wrong hands and be compromised. The secure way to dispose of hard drives is to send them to a secure shredding facility for disposal and recycling.
E-waste sent overseas
As our pile of e-waste increases, much of it is shipped off to other countries in the developing world. Countries such as China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines dismantle e-waste containing toxic components such as lead, zinc, nickel, barium, chromium. These chemicals polluting developing countries, and their waterways, not to mention the health of those taking apart the electronics, inhaling chemicals with little regulation and safety practices in place. China has started rejecting waste from other countries forcing European countries to face up to their e-waste problem.-*-
What we can do about the e-waste problem:?
Repairing and re-using
Think about whether your old item be repaired before you discard it. Often, items such as laptops are sold as only have a lifespan of up to 4 years. You can significantly increase the life of your IT by purchasing a replacement battery or installing a more powerful processor. Many people don’t realise that even a laptop keyboard and screen can be replaced.
Use a shredding service
By utilising the specialist skills of a shredding service, you can be certain that all materials contained in e-waste are shredded, separated and recycled.
Speak to the experts at The Shredding Alliance for a quote for the removal of your e-waste.