Electronic Waste or E-Waste is loosely applied to consumer and business electronic equipment that is near or at the end of its useful life. Anything that can be plugged and has a wire constitutes e-waste, basically the end of electronic equipment. It mainly consists of obsolete devices like CDs, DVDs, Computers, Laptops, Mobile Phones, and Floppies etc. It is one of the fastest contributor to global warming as it contains toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, cadmium etc. When it is disposed into landfills due to improper handling and disposing of E-Waste, these toxins can pollute the atmosphere and can cause various health hazards like Kidney & Liver damage, Respiratory digestive problems in adults, Cancer and many more.
The E-Waste (Management and Handling Rules) 2010, which became law last month, makes it mandatory for hardware manufacturers to facilitate e-waste collection. But with lax implementation, most manufacturers haven’t bothered to take the necessary remedial steps. 90% of e-waste is recycled through the informal sector as per the survey.
Benefits of Recycling:
- Allows for recovery of valuable precious metals: Most consumer electronics contain valuable materials like copper, gold and zinc that can and should be recycled. Virgin Materials are significantly more costly than recycled materials for manufacturing. A tonne of cell phones, for example, contains more gold than a tonne of ore from a typical gold mine.
- Protects public health and water quality: E-waste contains a variety of toxic substances, which may include lead, mercury and cadmium. When e-waste is disposed into landfills, these toxins can be released into the atmosphere or leak in through the land and have negative health and environmental effects.
- Creates Jobs: Recycling e-waste domestically creates jobs for professional recyclers and refurbishers and creates new markets for the valuable components that are dismantled. Consider the social implications and the local context of operations (e.g. employment opportunities, available skills and education etc.).
- Toxic Waste: Mining produce toxic waste, which are linked with crop devastation and human health crises due to water contamination
- Saves landfill space: E-waste is a growing waste stream -. Recycling these items will help conserve landfill space. The amount of e-waste the world throws away annually equals to trashing 125,000 Boeing 747s each year.