Have you ever wondered what happens to your e-waste or electronic waste when you dump them in your regular garbage can? Chances are your old electronic gadgets will either end up in landfills, where it will take a long time to decompose, or it will land up with scrap dealers who use primitive methods to process e-waste. The problem is, disposing of your old gadgets in this manner causes a lot of pollution and releases a number of toxins into the atmosphere that are hazardous to humans. Also, people working with e-waste in various informal e-waste recycling centres across India, do not use any type of protective gear and so fall prey to various diseases and health conditions.
Now take into consideration the growth rate of e-waste in India – which is pegged to touch 1.72 million metric tonnes by 2020 at the current rate. If all of this e-waste ends up in landfills or with the informal e-waste recycling sectors and scrap dealers, there’ll be a lot of pollution to deal with. E-waste from old gadgets and end of life electronics need to be disposed of/recycled in a specific manner to ensure that they don’t harm or pollute the environment. The only way we can ensure an environment free from the hazards of e-waste is to not dump old electronics in the garbage can and recycle them properly in the right manner. Let’s find out a bit more.
Don’t Trash Your E-Waste in the Garbage: Top 3 Reasons
Here are the top three reasons why you shouldn’t dump your e-waste in your garbage can -
1. Toxic Components - Electronics gadgets contain many components that have toxic elements and chemicals like mercury, lead, beryllium, arsenic, cadmium and halogenated flame retardants. Such elements cannot be disposed off in the same manner as your regular garbage. When you dump your e-waste in your trash, it will finally end up in junkyards and landfills, where they will decompose. The problem here is that the toxins from decomposing e-waste might leach into the groundwater from landfills and pollute the eco-system. Besides that, experts argue that all landfills are eventually bound to fail – even if it takes hundreds of years. This is why it would be a bad idea to bury e-waste along with their toxic components in landfills for future generations to manage.
Also sometimes, e-waste from trash ends up in incinerators or with local scrap dealers. Incinerating e-waste releases various hazardous toxins into the atmosphere, particularly the dioxins, which are released when halogenated flame retardant plastics from old electronics are incinerated. Incineration of e-waste also results in another toxic by product known as ‘slag’ – this is the stuff that didn’t burn out during incineration or was left over during the emission cleaning.
2. Recoverable/Reusable Material - Another important reason for not dumping your old electronics in your trash can are the various recoverable and reusable material in e-waste. Many of the rare earth metals and minerals used for the manufacture of electronics can be obtained by reclaiming these reusable materials from e-waste. Reclaiming and reusing material from e-waste for manufacture of new electronics not only puts less pressure on the earth’s mineral resources but also has a lower carbon footprint as compared to mining for minerals and processing them to make new electronics. It would really be a waste of precious resources to dump old electronics and gadgets in your garbage can, from where it will just go to landfills and pollute the environment.
3. Data Security - Dumping your e-waste in your garbage bin puts you at a greater risk of data theft, which could lead to various problems. These days almost all of us use our smartphones and laptops to carry out financial transactions and store important confidential data. Even when you delete all your personal information from your old electronic gadgets, it’s not actually deleted and information can be still retrieved from the device. When you trash your old mobile in the garbage can and it falls into the hands of miscreants they can retrieve this data and misuse it. For complete data destruction, one should always look for a credible e-waste recycler who offers complete data security.
Now that you know why getting rid of your old electronics and gadgets in your garbage can, is not an option, be a conscious and responsible electronics consumer and recycle your e-waste. Recycling e-waste can go a long way to help secure a greener future. Go Green! Recycle!!