The rising amount of electronic waste is a concern that is growing each year. According to the United Nations, up to 50 million tons of electronic waste is added to the world's landfills annually. To help ensure that you are part of the solution and not the problem, here is what you need to know.
What Is Electronic Waste?
Electronic waste, or e-waste, refers to the unwanted electronics that are no longer used by consumers. For instance, when you buy a newer version of your mobile phone and toss the old one in the trash, it becomes e-waste. Due to constant advancements in technology, e-waste is consistently growing around the world.
What Can You Do with Your Waste?
Instead of tossing your old electronics in the trash, you have several options for dealing with them. One of your first options is to donate the electronics to a local organization. Many organizations repurpose the old electronics and use them to help consumers. For instance, old mobile phones that are donated to women's shelters are commonly given to domestic violence victims so that they have a way to contact emergency services if needed.
Another method of dealing with your e-waste is to take it to a recycler. E-waste recycling centers make sure your waste is properly disposed of, which means a decreased harmful impact on the environment. According to the website DoSomething.org, 356,274 pounds of copper and 75 pounds of gold can be reclaimed from 1 million mobile phones.
Some recycling programs have the option to repair old electronics and donate or sell them to individuals and organizations. Go to sites of local recycling centers to find the one closest to you.
How Can You Prepare for Recycling?
Before donating or recycling your electronics, it is important that you take steps to remove any identifying information from them. For instance, use your mobile phone's menu to reset the phone to its original factory settings. To remove your information from a computer, run an erasing application. There are several such applications available online to download and use on your computer.
Can You Reduce Your Waste?
One of the ways you can reduce your e-waste is to be smarter about your purchases. For instance, when purchasing a new mobile phone, pay close attention to the reviews. You want to find a phone that is most likely to last a few years. The longer you are able to hold onto your electronics, the last waste you create.
E-waste recycling and donating are not just ways to get rid of old electronics you no longer want or need; it is a chance to help the environment.