The Environmental Impact of E-Waste and the Importance of
In 2023, the environmental impact of e-waste and the importance of proper recycling are high. E-waste contains hazardous substances like lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, which can have disastrous effects to human health and the environment if not disposed of properly. When e-waste is in landfills, these substances can leak into the soil and groundwater, contaminating the surrounding environment. E-waste also emits greenhouse gasses when incinerated, contributing to climate change.
Proper e-waste recycling is essential to minimizing the environmental impact of electronic devices. It involves separating the different materials in e-waste, such as metals, plastics, and glass, and recovering them for reuse. Recycling certainly reduces the need for new raw materials and energy, conserves natural resources, and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, e-waste recycling can create new job opportunities and boost the economy. It allows for the recovery of valuable metals like gold, silver, and copper, which can be used to make new electronic devices.
E-Waste Recycling: The Facts
To understand the urgent need for proper e-waste recycling, individuals must be aware of global facts. Considering these, anyone should be promoted to start recycling their e-waste accordingly. Some startling facts include:
- The amount of e-waste generated in 2021 was 57.4 Mt (Million Metric Tonnes).
- The total of e-waste is growing by an average of 2 Mt annually.
- Currently, more than 347 Mt of unrecycled e-waste exists on Earth.
- Only 17.4% of e-waste is collected and properly recycled.
- E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. According to the United Nations, the world generated 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste in 2019.
- In many countries, less than 20% of e-waste is recycled.Hazardous materials can leak into the environment from e-waste when it ends up in landfills.
- The economic value of e-waste is estimated to be around $62.5 billion per year. However, much of this value is lost when e-waste is not properly recycled.
- The global e-waste recycling rate is estimated to be around 17.4%. However, some countries have higher e-waste recycling rates. For example, in 2020, the European Union reported a recycling rate of 42%.
E-Waste: The Approach
To build a more circular economy, businesses in the electronics sector must step up and take responsibility, aside from individuals in the public sector. How individuals and businesses respond to this high environmental impact now will determine the future, our global future. Right now, as it stands, three scenarios could take place.
According to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, “The business-as-usual ‘linear growth’ scenario — a steady increase of electronics innovation, production, and consumption” will not be free from environmental footprints and toxicity. The institute continues, “In a ‘reactive approach’ scenario — in which the industry will be forced to comply with stricter regulatory obligations — the e-waste situation might improve locally but its impact will be outsourced to countries with weaker environmental regulations.”
Neither of the above provides a great solution. It is, therefore, imperative to follow a third scenario as defined by the institute. “The best alternative will be a ‘proactive path’ to be led by the industry players towards more sustainable production and consumption. Manufacturers can take the initiative with innovative business models, prioritizing lifetime extension and reuse of electronic products. This shift to more circular business practices will reduce the negative impacts of e-waste, despite the inevitable growth in the use of electronics, and also help to prevent e-waste generation.”
E-Waste: Your Action Is Needed
No matter the approach taken by businesses and large corporations, individuals like you can do your part. Fortunately, there are several solutions for getting rid of e-waste responsibly. Some ideas include donating working electronics to charities and nonprofits, finding an e-waste recycling facility, selling the e-waste parts online, and checking to see if local retail stores have e-waste recycling programs.
You can also speak to our team at CheckSammy. We recycle computer monitors and components, smartphones, televisions, video game systems, printers, scanners, cables, circuit boards, DVD/Blu-Ray players, radios, microwaves, dryers, and washing machines.
When you partner with our e-waste recycling services, you’ll receive simple, affordable, tech-forward solutions that bring deep data, peace of mind, and compliance reporting. With the environmental impact of e-waste and the importance of proper recycling high, get in touch with us today: https://checksammy.com/services/sustainability-esg/e-waste-recycling/
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Take a positive step toward reducing landfill waste. Contact us to discuss how we can help you level up your sustainability initiatives with our commercial junk removal, recycling, and analytics solutions today.