Recycling is important to protect the environment, the ecosystem


Go out and search your tool shed and you will be amazed to find milling, sanding, grinding, sawing, cutting, shearing and drilling equipment that is no longer of any use. And it’s important to agree that throwing away used electronics instead of recycling them does more harm than good and society has reaped enough benefit from the ignorant disposal of cheap electronics.

With the explosive growth of the electronics industry, the problem of end-of-life (EOL) electronics or e-waste has escalated. E-waste is unwanted electronic devices that have the potential to harm our ecosystem if disposed of carelessly. Therefore, it should also be understood that e-waste is among the fastest growing segments of our nation’s waste stream. It literally assumes that any irreparable electronic device can no longer be used and has become obsolete. In fact, in landfills or primitive recycling operations, toxic materials have been recorded to be released from old electronic devices into the environment.

Namely, a recent report from the World Economic Forum states that e-waste is currently the fastest growing waste stream in the world, with 48.5 million tons recorded in 2018. Moreover, e-waste is not not limited to the devices we use for online purchases. research, digital domain exploration and message communication, and other types of ICT (information and communication technology) and telecommunications equipment. The definition may include office appliances such as photocopying equipment and pocket or desktop calculators, vending machines for hot drinks, bottles or cans and cash dispensers.

As a result, the safe recycling of electronics products is receiving increased attention from regulators, industry, and consumers. This trend is good news because many consumers still don’t know how to safely dispose of old computers, smartphones or other electronic equipment. Nearly 75% of old electronics are permanently stored in households due to lack of awareness of convenient recycling options, according to a report.

Why is electronics recycling important?

Rich source of raw materials: Globally, approximately 10-15% of the gold contained in e-waste is successfully recovered, while the rest is lost. Additionally, the United Nations points out that all e-waste contains deposits of precious metals estimated to be nearly 50 times richer than minerals mined from the earth. As ironic as it may sound, the importance of an informed recycling method is obvious.

Solid waste management: Due to the sudden growth of the electronics industry, combined with the short life cycle of products, it has led to a rapid escalation in the generation of solid waste which, when improperly disposed of, can pollute the air and soil and seeping into water sources.

Toxic materials: As old electronic devices contain toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium, proper treatment is necessary to prevent the release of these materials into the environment. They can also be filled with certain heavy metals which are potentially toxic chemical flame retardants.

International movement of hazardous waste: The uncontrolled movement of e-waste to countries like India, where cheap labor and primitive approaches to recycling are commonplace, is a major concern. This has had an effect on the health risks to residents exposed to the release of toxins from the waste stream.

In summary, a quick Google search will thus yield a list of organizations in most areas that rebuild old electronics and provide them to those who would otherwise go without. Here, “reuse” is an important part of keeping materials out of the waste stream. And on the manufacturing front, where products like cell phones have been designed to become obsolete faster and faster, encouraging the development of products with longer lifespans as part of the electronic waste will go a long way.

(Dipanjan Purkayastha is co-founder and CEO, hyperXchange-online-to-offline e-recommerce platform)

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Posted: Tuesday 03 May 2022, 16:56 IST


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