The world is struggling to overcome numerous problems that are occurring. COVID-19 leads to the piling up of medical waste. The daily routines lead to never-ending plastic waste. The media often highlight these two types of waste.
But don’t forget about the danger of electronic waste (or e-waste). It is also the struggle that the Earth is dealing with right now. Along with the development of technology, the number of electronic waste keeps on increasing. Based on research, in 2019 alone, people (collectively) produced 53.6 million tons of electronic waste. The amount is projected to increase by 38% in 2030.
The number itself is already frightening. But its side effect is even more dangerous. It releases toxic heavy metals, harming the soil, water, and air. And recycling can’t keep up with the growth of electronic waste. It needs special care as electronic waste contains dangerous substances. It is worse than plastic waste. Hence, it is essential to know why it is dangerous and how to decrease electronic waste, starting with yourself.
The Threat Is Around You
You might not notice how dangerous your gadgets are. When your electronic waste breaks down, it releases toxic substances, namely lead, arsenic, cadmium, barium, mercury, lithium, and many more.
When the substances released into the soil, it will be affecting the surrounding plants. The plants will contain toxic substances and might be consumed by animals or humans. It impacts the balance of the circle of life. In humans, it can cause defects and health complications.
Just like its effect on the soil, it also harmful to the water and the air. When the electronic waste is burned, it causes multiple effects. Its consequence is not only limited to health complications to humans, but also global warming.
You can reduce the danger that electronic waste performs to the environment and people’s well-being. Don’t wait for anyone to do it first, because it starts from you.
Repair or Replace?
The question itself has been running around every time someone encounters problems with their gadgets. Is repairing your gadget worth your money? Or should you buy a new one?
People nowadays fond of replacing their broken electronic devices rather than repairing the old ones. The reason might vary. Some think it is cheaper to buy a new one rather than repairing the broken device. Some others think it is the right time to catch up with the trend. This reason happens every time a new company releases their new products. Innovations will always happen. Catching up with them will tire you. This mindset will bring people to produce more electronic waste. Their broken electronic devices are just an excuse.
If you were only considering its cost or trend and decided to buy a new one, then you’ve contributed to the world’s electronic waste. Remember, not every value can be measured by its cost. When it causes harm to you or your environment, it also decreases its value. Think thoroughly before replacing your electronic devices.
One of the most dangerous toxic substances that electronic waste can produce is mercury. And unfortunately, mercury is used in your computer monitor. Therefore, if you can repair your computer, then refrain from buying a new one. Ask your technicians whether you need to replace your computer or they can fix it. It is because in some cases, you need to replace your computer. After all, the components might be expired. It can bring harm to you. The same goes for your phone and other electronic devices in your home. Do not replace them if you can repair them. Replace your gadgets only when it is necessary.
What Can You Do?
Personal electronic disposal is unavoidable. As much as you want to keep the number small, sometimes you have no other choice.
If you have to buy a new device because your old device can’t catch up with your needs, these are what you can do with your previous gadgets.
- Donate your device. You can help otherswho need an electronic device, especially people who can’t afford to buy one. There are a lot of people who are struggling to catch up with current circumstances. COVID-19 accelerates the use of gadgets in various activities. To help those people, you can start by donating your unused devices.
- Find a certified e-waste recycler.If your devices can no longer work and you have to throw them away, find a certified electronic waste recycler. It is because the uncertified recycler might throw the devices away or handling them in a dangerous measure. You can search the certified e-waste recycler around you through your search engine. It will give you some recommendations and what kind of items you can donate to them.
Without self-awareness, we can’t start a big step. A small step is still progress. Start with yourself to save the Earth. It is a powerful action to do. Start your action now.