Did you know that 57.4 million Metric Tons (Mt) of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2021? That amount grows by an average of 2 Mts per year. To make matters worse, less than 18% of e-waste is properly disposed of. With shocking data like this, you might think that recycling e-waste is an insurmountable challenge—but that simply isn’t true. E-waste is surprisingly easy to dispose of properly, and it’s something that everyone should be doing to help the environment. With Earth Day 2023 right around the corner, it’s time to make a difference. Now’s your chance to cut back on e-waste and recycle end-of-life equipment properly.
What is e-waste?
E-waste, short for electronic waste, refers to old or discarded tech devices like phones, laptops, and tablets. As companies brainstorm new improved features for devices to replace old ones, and consumers inevitably upgrade, the amount of e-waste also rises. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that e-waste “can be reused, refurbished, or recycled to minimize the actual waste that might end up in a landfill or improperly disposed of in an unprotected dump site.”
Some examples of e-waste include:
- Refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and heat pumps
- Computers and laptops
- DVD and Blu-Ray players
- Tablets and smartphones
- Washing machines dryers, dishwashers, electric stoves
- Printers and copiers
- Vacuum cleaners, microwaves, and many other household devices
- Routers and modems
Minimizing e-waste by recycling
Recycling conserves precious natural resources such as copper and lithium. It also reduces the air and water pollution that result from mining these metals, preserves landfill space, and lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some materials commonly found in e-waste, such as lead and mercury, are hazardous. They can leech into groundwater, harm local ecosystems, and can ultimately cause large-scale environmental damage. Through proper disposal, you’re helping keep our water clean and safe for drinking.
What should you do when it’s time to say goodbye to old tech?
To make sure your old devices don’t end up in the landfill, what should you do with outdated electronics?
When you’re ready to say goodbye to your devices, wipe personal data off of computers and smartphones. Even when recycling your tech, you should practice best security practices.
Next, check your local area for e-waste recycling facilities. Make sure the facility you choose is a certified e-waste recycler. And remember to never throw any electronics in the trash.
What about donating old electronics?
Another way to get rid of your older tech is to call a donation center or a nonprofit. Many of these facilities repurpose old electronics into refurbished equipment that can return to the market at a lower price, or even help people in underserved communities. Manufacturers and retailers offer several options to donate your old or unwanted electronics. The EPA suggests searching for options on the following websites:
Celebrate Earth Day 2023 by committing to a sustainable lifestyle
Now that we’re done talking about the potential harm of e-waste, let’s discuss the benefits of sustainable technology. Fiber broadband is one of the fastest internet technologies on the market. It consumes much less energy and can help decrease GHG emissions. When we use energy-efficient solutions like fiber broadband, we reduce the number of GHGs released into the atmosphere.
What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day 2023? For some more ideas, don’t forget to visit our blog again!
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