The world is now facing a huge environmental challenge posed by the increasing number of e-wastes. In 2020, we produced about 53.6 million tons of e-waste worldwide and recycled only 12.5% of them. That means almost 47 million tons of e-waste were either dumped into landfills or the ocean. The future will be very grim and full of challenges if we do not tackle this problem as soon as we can. Fortunately, there are many ways of solving this issue.
In this article, I will discuss how we can deal with the e-waste problem. I will also discuss how you can make money by recycling e-waste.
What Is E-waste?
Before talking about how to deal with the e-waste problem, let us have a proper idea about what is considered to be e-waste. E-waste or otherwise known as electronic waste is electronic products that no longer function or we no longer require. The major contributor to the e-waste problem is plastic products.
For instance, if the photocopier machine in your office malfunctions or breaks down, you have to replace it and get a new one. The moment you throw away the old broken machine, it becomes e-waste and contributes to environmental pollution.
Up until January 2018, China used to import e-waste and plastics from all around the world and recycle them. But a few years ago, the Chinese government banned the import of plastics and e-waste in their country due to environmental concerns. This has been a huge setback for recyclers all around the world.
So, How To Tackle the E-waste Problem?
For dealing with this problem, we need to be conscious about what we buy. We can reduce e-waste if and only if we all co-operate with each other and follow certain steps. The steps by following which you can reduce e-waste are:
#1 By Being Conscious About What You Buy
Before buying any type of electronic product, ask yourself if you need it. Many people tend to buy stuff that they do not need. By reducing the number of products you buy, you will be reducing the amount of e-waste that you will produce.
#2 By Increasing The Lifespan Of Your Products
You can easily reduce e-waste by extending the lifespan of your electronic products. Buy electronic devices that have a better build quality and that will last longer. For example, if you use a smartphone, you can easily expand its lifespan by using a protective case.
#3 By Donating Unused Stuff
You may have many electronic devices that you no longer use lying around in your house. By donating those devices, you can contribute towards producing less e-waste. Moreover, by donating unused electronic devices, you are also helping others who can not afford those devices.
If your electronic devices are not in a good shape for donation, you can always give them away to hardware stores. They will salvage the functioning parts and reuse them.
#4 By Reselling
If you don’t want to donate or give your stuff away for free then, there is a huge second-hand market for used electronic devices where you can sell your stuff and make some decent money.
You can sell almost anything on sites like eBay, Newegg, Amazon, etc. There will be less e-waste if we reuse old items. And the best way to do that is by reselling electronics that we no longer use.
#5 By Recycling
You might already be familiar with the term “Recycling”. Recycling is the process of making new products by using old stuff that would otherwise be thrown away as trash. Recycling will drastically reduce e-waste and save the planet from harmful emissions.
Almost all the major cities around the world have recycling plants. So if you are planning on throwing away your old items, try to recycle them. Many countries even have recycling vending machines where you can get cash in exchange for your old or broken smartphone.
#6 By Organizing Your Electronic Devices
Many people tend to forget about electronic stuff that they already own. By reorganizing all the electronics you have, you can easily sort out the devices that you need and devices that you no longer use. You can then recycle or sell unused electronics and help to reduce e-waste.
#7 By Going Cloud
Most hard drives have a lifespan of only three to five years. That means after only five years, they will turn into e-waste. E-waste production can significantly be reduced by storing all our information online. You can use cloud-based services like Dropbox or google drive to store all your information.
You can also reduce the chances of data corruption and data leak by switching to cloud-based services.
#8 By Buying Eco-Friendly Products
Always try to buy electronic products having green certification. Products that have green certification do not harm the environment during their production and can easily be recycled when they break down.
Can You Make Money From E-waste?
Almost all electronic devices that we use have a printed circuit board or PCB in them. PCB is used for maintaining connections with all the electronic components in a device. And the connectors of those PCBs are often made out of gold because of their high conductivity and inertness. Many recycling companies buy off unused or damaged electronic components and extract gold from them.
You may not believe it, but it takes less effort to extract gold from electronics than it takes to extract gold from an actual gold mine. Typically, computer motherboards and processors contain the most amount of gold. You can also find other precious metals such as silver, platinum, and palladium in other computer parts and electronic devices.
You can earn some serious money by starting your own recycling business and extracting precious materials from old computer parts.
The e-waste problem that we are facing right now can only get worse in the future if we do not take proper steps. The fate of our planet and our environment depends on how we deal with them. So, we should all try our best to minimize e-waste and follow the 3 Rs. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
Hopefully, by following the steps mentioned in the article above, we will be able to fight against this problem and make the world a better place for future generations.
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