Wanna Buy a NEW Laptop, Think Twice...OR Maybe THRICE!!!
Have you ever thought what happens to that ragged, old desktop or that old bulky cellphone when you decide to upgrade them with a new sleeker & meaner laptop or that latest phone??? Nah! Then read ahead, this article is for you�
Remember how good it felt the last time you hauled your clunky, old computer and monitor out to the curb and went back inside to turn on your shiny, new PC? Well as it turns out, that quick trip to the trash wasn't the best idea you ever had. As we move to the new era of super-fast, sleek and mean gadgets, we forget what happens to the old gadget that we discard in the process.
The Problem of Plenty!
The amount of electronic products discarded globally has skyrocketed recently, with 20-50 million tonnes generated every year. If such a huge figure is hard to imagine, think of it like this - if the estimated amount of e-waste generated every year would be put into containers on a train it would go once around the world! This electronic waste (e-waste) now makes up 10% of all municipal solid waste worldwide, nearly the same amount as all plastic packaging, but it is much more hazardous. Not only developed countries generate e-waste; developing countries like, India, Brazil, Indonesia etc. discard an estimated 12 million tonnes each year.
E-waste is now the fastest growing component of the municipal solid waste stream because people are upgrading their mobile phones, computers, televisions, audio equipment and printers more frequently than ever before. Mobile phones and computers are causing the biggest problem because they are replaced most often. Developing countries like India are expected to increase the amount of their e-waste by as much as five times in the next 2 years.
Electronic gadgets contain a variety of toxic components like lead, mercury, arsenic, beryllium and brominated flame retardants, some of which cause cancer and other adverse health effects. In fact, each individual piece of electronic equipment can contain enough toxins to make a person (or the earth!) seriously ill. One CRT monitor holds between four and eight pounds of lead. Flat-screen TVs use mercury lamps.
Because electronics contain so many toxins, it�s important not to throw them away with the regular trash. If e-waste gets sent to a landfill, chemicals can leech into groundwater and poison water systems. If they�re sent to an incinerator, all of those harmful compounds get emitted into the air, posing significant health risks to people who breathe that air in. Properly recycling used electronics can prevent noxious chemicals and heavy metals from winding up in the land and in our bodies
But we RECYCLE, Right??
Taking discarded electronics to recycling or take-back centers is a noble action, but it�s important for consumers to only choose reliable programs. A 2008 US report found that a substantial amount of America�s �recycled� electronics were actually shipped to developing nations like China, India and Africa. Workers in these locations, who are often women and children, disassemble products with their bare hands, exposing themselves to a host of toxins. Plus, electronics sometimes wind up sitting around in unlined pits, where chemicals can leech into soil and groundwater, poisoning the surrounding areas.
So What Can WE Do: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Reduce, reuse, recycle has become a popular, environmental slogan, let�s embrace it.
1. Reduce the consumption of products that ultimately become e-waste by maintaining older equipment or purchasing higher quality products with a longer useful life.
2. Reuse products by selling them or donating them to others, especially computer re-use organizations, extending their useful life and keeping them out of the waste stream.
3. Recycle your unwanted electronics with an environmentally responsible recycler who will either refurbish them for reuse, or break them down to commodity level where they can be used again as raw materials.
Also, exporting e-waste to developing nations should be illegal, and a law should be introduced to stop the same.