What is Electronic Waste?
Electronic waste, more commonly referred to as e-waste, is what remains of our old, broken or outdated electronic devices. Many people don’t realize that e-waste consists of much more than old cell phone’s; its computers, hard drives, televisions, VCRs, DVD players, tablets, video game consoles, USB and other external storage devices, radios, copy/fax machines, printers and more.
Why is E-Waste Bad?
E-waste is a quickly growing problem in today’s world. According to a report from United Nations University, an academic and research arm of the United Nation, we discarded almost 42 million metric tons of e-waste in 2014, and the amount has since continued to rise. Elephants generally weigh around 1 metric ton (2,240 pounds). That means our discarded e-waste in 2014 alone is roughly equal to the weight of 42 million elephants.
A lot of the materials that make up our electronics are valuable: silver, gold, titanium, copper, iron and more. When recycled by a professional service, these valuable materials can be removed and recycled.
Just like they contain valuable materials, they also contain materials that are toxic to us: arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium and many more. If we toss our electronic devices in the trash they end up in a landfill where these toxins will eventually leak out into ecosystem, turning our air toxic and water toxic and harming our plant and animal life. The more toxins leaking into the earth, the more damage it will do, eventually affecting our food supply. These toxins also cause bodily harm to anyone who comes in contact with them. Some side effects of being exposed to these toxins include birth defects, cancer, lung damage, thyroid damage, seizures and even death.
What Can We Do?
Clearly we’re not going to stop buying electronics, so what we need to focus on is being responsible consumers. To do this we can make sure we buy good quality electronics that will last longer. We can keep our electronic devices for longer periods of time, instead of unnecessarily upgrading them every year.
And when you do have to get rid of an electronic device…RECYCLE!!! Have a professional, reliable company shred your hard drives and recycle your cell phones, tablets and other electronic waste. There are mobile shredding and data destruction companies that will come to you, making it super easy for you to securely and responsibly dispose of all your electronics and confidential materials.