Electronic Waste Has Been a Problem For Years
The global electronic waste recycling issue is not a recent environmental disaster. Since the late 1980s, the evolution of landlines and household television sets to cell phones and laptops/tablets has fueled incredible increases in ewaste. Prior to 1990, the type of waste containing chemicals toxic to the environment consisted mostly of air conditioners, car batteries and various industrial chemicals.
Today, China and the U.S. discard more ewaste than any other country. China produces over an estimated 11 million tons of electronic waste annually. The United States produces over eight million tons of electronic waste every year. Both countries are expected to produce even higher amounts of electronic waste recycling as consumers eagerly buy the newest electronics—even though their old electronics still work.
Only about 20 percent of discarded electronics are properly disposed of through electronic waste recycling. Instead of being repurposed or recycled, ewaste is thrown into landfills or incinerators where toxic chemicals freely pollute the air, ground and water. In addition, the U.S. EPA reports the United States is shipping an “undetermined amount” of unwanted electronics to countries that cannot handle ewaste appropriately or “lack the ability to reject electronic waste imports”. While the EPA doesn’t state exactly who is shipping ewaste overseas, it is obvious these so-called recycling companies are more concerned about making a profit than protecting human and animal life.
What Can Be Done to Solve the Global Electronic Waste Problem?
Educate Consumers On the Dangers of Ewaste
Most people are unaware or unconcerned about the toxic metals and chemicals needed to make electronic devices. Beryllium, cadmium, mercury and lead are just a few of the heavy metals used in manufacturing electronics that are known to cause cancer, kidney/liver failure and even genetic disorders. While the amount of heavy metals in electronics is nowhere near the toxic level, the accumulation of tons of landfill ewaste is enough to harm humans and wildlife. Taking many years to completely disintegrate while laying in landfills, ewaste can continue contaminating the soil, air and water for decades.
More Involvement from State Legislators Regarding Electronic Waste Recycling Locations
Do you know where the nearest ewaste recycling center is in your community? Unless an electronic waste management program is regularly advertised and promoted in your city, it’s likely you’ll have to research the address of the nearest electronic waste disposal facility. Unfortunately, too many people don’t know the damage ewaste does to the environment and will simply throw their old electronics into the trash to be taken to a landfill. State and local representatives should make sure their constituents know where they can take used electronics to be recycled. Mailing information once a month about electronic waste management facilities (location, hours of services, guidelines) or erecting billboard advertisements can help promote awareness of ewaste recycling programs.
Donating Used Electronics to Nonprofit Organizations
Charitable organizations such as the Freecycle Network and Computers with Causes accept working and nonworking desktop computers, tablets, laptops and other electronic devices. Contributions are tax deductible. Nonprofit organizations may either pick up your used electronics or pay to have them shipped to their company. Charities like these will attempt to fix discarded electronics so they can be given to families in need. If a laptop or tablet can’t be repaired, they are sent to an electronic waste recycling center.
Call Potomac eCycle in Virginia for All Your Ewaste Recycling Needs
Potomac eCycle is one of Virginia’s leading electronic recycling companies that also provides hard drive/data destruction, data center decommissioning and IT Asset Disposition services. We offer free ewaste pickup for businesses, health care entities, individuals and government agencies at a time most convenient for you, as well as operating an ewaste drop off site. You can help us make further strides towards solving the electronic waste problem by contacting us today to learn more about our electronic waste recycling methods.