Most of us tend to buy new phones, laptops, and printers and not dispose of the old ones properly. We have the habit of storing them in the attic or a box somewhere in our garage so that we can take care of them at a later time.
All the products we use eventually become waste. Throwing away hardware such as computers, printers, screens, and mobile phones is called e-waste. E-waste can, among other things, contain dangerous substances. If the waste is not handled properly, it can harm the environment.
Electronics, however, contain a variety of precious metals and materials that can be used for new products after disposal. These valuable resources form an important part of the work for a sustainable society. Through high-tech processes, we have the opportunity to take care of large volumes of electronics that add new value.
Compared to other countries, the United Kingdom collects a large proportion of electrical waste for recycling. In 2019, the country produced a total of 1.6 million tons of e-waste, equating to around 23.9 kg of waste per person. According to research, the amount of waste per person will increase to 24.5 kg per person by 2024.
Despite these figures, e-waste continues to be a major problem in the world. Luckily, there are several easy-to-implement solutions on how to dispose of electronics responsibly and be environmentally friendly.
Electrical waste must always be recycled via an electronics dealer or a municipal recycling station that knows how to handle the waste. Your hair dryer or old mobile phone are considered electrical waste and should be handed in for recycling. The same applies to old computers and white goods such as microwaves and refrigerators, as well as TVs and speakers and more. Everything must be handed over to professional recycling stations.
Electronics contain materials that can be both toxic and dangerous. So it is incredibly important that appliances are handed in for recycling when they no longer work. Materials such as mercury, lead, chromium, beryllium, arsenic, and cadmium can be very dangerous if not handled properly, and they can also be incredibly dangerous if the chemicals leach into the ground or groundwater.
But there can also be many valuable materials in electronics that should be recycled and reused. The Earth has a limited amount of these materials, and since the source in some cases cannot be renewed, these materials must be reused.
Recycling electrical waste is therefore important for several reasons and not only to protect the environment from hazardous and toxic materials. If you’re a business with electrical or electronic equipment to dispose of, look for a nearby WEEE recycling company to safely discard or recycle as much hazardous waste as possible and protect the environment.
If your old electronic equipment is in good condition and you’re looking for a hassle-free way to help someone, it may be worthwhile to donate them. Having old electronics reused is a much better alternative than having them dumped in a landfill or going through a recycling process.
Not only are you helping the planet, but you also have the chance to help low-income families, non-profit organizations, shelters, and family charities that are often in need of many electrical items. So contact your local donation centers and ask them whether they can make use of your electronic equipment.
Donating has two big bonuses. You no longer have to find a place to recycle, and the recipient can benefit from the item.
A great thing about modern electronics is that they’re easily repairable and instead of throwing your old electronics, you can look at YouTube videos or DIY diagnostic guides that offer instructions on how you can repair and extend the lives of your electronic devices. Alternatively, consider searching for electronics repair shops that can do the job for you.
Reselling your old gadgets is also a great option and today there are numerous online platforms intended for the sale of old electronics that make everything much easier.
If you decide to sell your old electronics through these platforms, make sure the items are in good condition and have a good or high environmental rating. These two factors increase the likelihood that the item will be used for years rather than a few months.
Most of us know that we need to come up with more sustainable solutions when it comes to our consumption and make sure that we use our resources as smartly as possible. Properly disposing of electronic waste is crucial if we want to protect our environment. Recycling, donating, repairing, and reselling are our safest bets when it comes to eliminating the negative impacts of e-waste and being socially responsible.
Jason is the Marketing Manager at a local advertising company in Australia. He moved to Australia 10 years back for his passion for advertising. Jason recently joined BFA as a volunteer writer and contributes by sharing his valuable experience and knowledge.