What You Need To Know About Electrical And Electronic Waste

In today’s world electronic devices have become an indispensable part of our lives. They are
everywhere, from our homes and workplaces to schools and public spaces. Electronic devices have
made our lives easier and more efficient, but they have also created a new environmental issue.

According to the press release from the United Nations University, the world mostly dumped or burned
53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste in 2019, and this figure is expected to reach 74 million metric
tonnes by 2030. The issue is not only the unprecedented amount of improper e-waste disposal, but
also the negative effects it has on the environment and human health. In this blog, we will explore the
journey of e-waste while also delving into the different methods of responsible electronic disposal.
Whether you are a business owner, an eco-conscious consumer, or simply someone who cares about
the environment, this guide will equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions
about your electronic devices.

The problem with electrical and electronic waste
Electrical and electronic waste, or simply e-waste, is a term used to describe any powered device that
is no longer in use, whether it is broken, outdated, or simply unwanted. It includes everything from
smart phones and laptops to televisions and refrigerators. The rapid pace of technological innovation,
combined with the increasing human population and demand for electrical and electronic devices, has
created a surge in e-waste generation worldwide.

Irresponsible Disposal
One of the major issues with e-waste is that it is frequently discarded irresponsibly, which can lead to
a variety of problems. E-waste contains heavy metals and toxic, hazardous substances that can harm
the environment and human health if not disposed of properly. For example, many electronic devices
contain lead, mercury, and cadmium, all of which can cause serious health problems if they leak into
the soil or water. Additionally, burning e-waste is a common waste disposal practice in developing
countries that can release potent greenhouse gases, resulting in air pollution and contributing to
climate change.
Resource extraction and excess production

Another issue with e-waste is its huge environmental footprint due to natural resource extraction and
excess production. The production of electronic devices, such as smartphones, requires a significant
amount of natural resources, including rare metals and minerals such as lithium, copper, and gold.
The extraction of these resources is often prioritised, resulting in deforestation, soil degradation, and
water pollution, among other risks to their employees’ safety.
Moreover, the excess production of electrical and electronic devices contributes to ongoing climate
change since a large amount of energy is required at every stage, from manufacturing to logistics. In
addition, the constant need to upgrade to newer models leads to a culture of disposability, where
electronic devices are seen as disposable items. This culture of disposability not only contributes to e-
waste generation but also perpetuates a wasteful and unsustainable model of consumption.

Common methods of e-waste disposal

There are many ways e-waste is disposed of today, but not all of them are environmentally
responsible. Some of the most common methods of electronic disposal include landfilling, incineration,
and exporting to developing countries.
● Landfilling is the standard practice of e-waste disposal. It involves burying e-waste, along with
other types of waste, in a landfill, where it can take hundreds of years to decompose fully.
Landfills can also contaminate the soil and water with hazardous substances, contributing to
environmental degradation.
● Incineration involves burning of waste, which is often a common practice in most developing
countries. While it is often seen as a solution for waste disposal, it creates a host of other
issues by releasing toxic substances into the air, which causes respiratory problems and other
health issues, especially in nearby communities.
● Exporting e-waste to developing countries is another method of e-waste disposal. However,
this practice is often illegal and can lead to hazardous working conditions for the people who
process the waste, as well as environmental pollution.

The global need for responsible electronic disposal

Given the environmental and health risks associated with e-waste, it is becoming increasingly
important that we, as consumers and businesses, adopt responsible electronic disposal practices.
This can also include:
● Reducing our e-waste by using our electrical and electronic devices for as long as possible
before replacing them. This can be achieved by repairing and maintaining electronic devices
rather than replacing them often, as well as by purchasing long-lasting and energy-efficient
● Reusing devices by finding new uses for them, such as donating them to schools or charities,
or selling them to certified second-hand retailers. This can help extend the lifespan of
electronic devices and reduce the need for new ones.
● Responsible recycling by opting for certified e-waste removal and recycling companies that
follow strict environmental and health regulations. Recycling e-waste often involves several
steps, such as collecting, sorting, dismantling, and salvaging, to ensure the recovery and
repurposing of valuable materials such as copper and gold, reducing the need for more natural
resources to be extracted. It also reduces the amount of e-waste that ends up in landfills or is
exported to developing countries. Click here to find out more.

All in all, responsible electronic disposal is very important for protecting the environment and human
health, especially in the digital age. By reducing, reusing, and recycling our devices, we can extend
their lifespan and reduce e-waste. As consumers and businesses, we need to be aware of what
happens to our electrical and electronic waste. By doing so, we are able to find solutions and
implement responsible waste disposal practices, paving the way for a more sustainable and
environmentally friendly future.