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E-Waste and Our World

e-waste
E-Waste and Our World

E-Waste and Our World

What is e-waste? Is it a slang word for spam?: No, e-waste is a term that describes discarded electronic devices and gadgets. Bulbs, fridges, TV, desktops, laptops, displays, mobile and landline phones, every other thing running on electric power with a microchip inside.

According to statistics, a consumer changes his or her mobile phone every 18 months. According to statistics again, most of the items discarded are in working condition, or have just minor fixable faults. And one major one: they are out of fashion and lack new features.

We produce 40 billion tons of e-waste every year!

Never heard about it in my life! And where does the e-waste go?: Mostly, it goes to landfills in developing countries like Ghana in West Africa, or Pakistan, Vietnam, or China. There, it lies exposed to the elements with no environmental precautions whatsoever.

Is there so much hazard in it? I mean, it’s plastic and plastic is not OK for nature, but its harmless enough, isn’t it? You can burn it, right?: Plastic is a minor issue here. The major ones are nonferrous metals, and flame retardants, which are very toxic essences and in a nutshell, every discarded desktop or mobile is a toxic bomb.

Is there any way to recycle them?: Sure! Non-ferrous metals, gold and platinum can be extracted and reused. This process is called urban mining. The e-waste recycling industry has been developing rapidly, though not rapidly enough. There are recycling plants in Switzerland, where they have been recycling fridges since early 1990s. And there’s a number of them in USA. But mostly, it’s pretty heavy in manual labor. The greatest e-waste recycling community is in Guiyu, China.

How can I contribute?: First, diminish your throw-aways. If your iPhone, iPad, iPod or iMac is old but running, or fixable, don’t discard it. Find them a new family. For example, you can contact us in iGotOffer and sell your gadget. We operate online and it takes you just a click of the mouse to know how you can do it.

Second, if your gadgets are beyond repair, don’t cram them in a bin and let it go. Consult your community for the local e-waste management. In Canada and in half of US states, there are laws which regulate e-waste recycling. They see to sorting and collecting e-waste the proper way. Meeting those regulations, you can be sure that your e-waste will be recycled properly and won’t go to a distant landfill to pollute nature.

E-WASTE RECYCLING LAWS IN USA AND CANADA

We can hardly imagine our lives now without electronic or electrical gadgets. We’ve been having fridges, washing machines and radios for decades, but only with the entrance of PC and portable devices has the problem of e-waste become urgent.

It takes just a year and sometimes only 6 months for a mobile or a portable player to become obsolete and behind the date. Nowadays, they are in and out in a wink, and subsequently, streaming down to landfills like paper cups. More than 3 million tons of e-waste was produced in 2013, and this figure is expected to quadruple by 2018. By then, we might be wading knee high in discarded phones and gadgets, if they haven’t been recycled.

Since e-waste is very toxic due to the materials used at manufacturing, discarding the electronic and electrical items is strictly regulated. The corresponding bills and laws are in effect in Canada and USA.

They specify the manner and place the e-waste should be discarded, and set the regulations that recycling companies are to meet as well. According to these laws, you should be also informed about the ways to discard your old devices by the hauling company. Contact your local authorities to learn more about the regulations in your area.

In the USA, the e-waste is regulated by laws in: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

In Canada, the e-waste is regulated by laws in: Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

See also:

e-waste

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