While efficient waste solutions continue to be prioritized in the workplace and at home to ensure a brighter future for our planet, there’s still one harmful form of solid waste that doesn’t seem to draw enough attention. Electronic waste (E-waste) is a growing commercial recycling problem that many experts say will only continue to get worse moving forward. And as technology proceeds to evolve at rapid, unforeseen paces, it’s safe to assume that the importance for properly disposing outdated and unused electronic products will need to be exponentially emphasized.
Much of the problem for addressing E-waste simply stems from a lack of knowledge or awareness on what to do with it, or why it’s harmful. So in order to confront this spiraling ecological issue, let’s take a look at four reasons why electronic waste is so harmful to our planet, as well as what we can do at work or at home to address this matter of environmental sustainability.
Defining Electronic Waste
The common definition for E-waste is essentially any electronic product that is nearing the end or has already reached its “useful life.” According to the EPA, Americans are estimated to cumulatively possess over 3 billion electronic products. These can include, but are not limited to, the following:
● Cell phones
● Laptops or computers
● Printers and scanners
● LED bulbs
● DVD or VCR players
● Fax machines
● Children’s toys
● Exercise equipment
As you can imagine, the list for different types of E-waste goes on and on. But more importantly, as new inventions and technology continues to be produced, more and more electronic accessories become obsolete. This is how billions of electronic products all over the world turn into waste every year.
Why E-Waste Is Harmful
For starters, the sheer volume of E-waste is escalating at an unsustainable pace. In 2019, there was more than 53 million tons of E-waste generated by the world, and experts expect that number to increase to nearly 75 million in 2030. In fact, every year, the total number of E-waste rises by 2.5 million, and in 2019, only 17.4% of the world’s E-waste was effectively collected and recycled.
But the rising volume of E-waste isn’t even the most dangerous problem about it. While E-waste all in all only represents around 2% of waste in U.S. landfills, it equates to approximately 70% of all overall toxic waste!
Most electronic products are made of a collection of materials ranging from copper, gold, silver, platinum, lithium, cobalt, palladium, and a wide variety of other elements. However, they also possess a number of other toxic materials and metals, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, and a number of brominated flame retardants; all of which are extremely hazardous and toxic to the environment and human health systems.
Is E-Waste Recyclable?
Essentially all electronic items are recyclable, but it comes down to a matter of effectively disposing of them. Unwanted electronic products typically cannot be placed in commercial or residential recycling bins. One of the most efficient ways to properly dispose of E-waste is by consulting with a professional and licensed waste solutions company.
At LJP Waste Solutions, we have the equipment, staff, and resources necessary to ensure that any E-waste you provide us will be adequately handled, processed, and re-used. In fact, utilizing our services provides customers with detailed reports of exactly how any forms of E-waste collected become recycled and restored.
Working alongside us will help ensure your E-waste receives a second life, and doesn’t sit in a landfill somewhere, collecting dust and releasing harmful toxins into the environment!
What Are Other Appropriate E-Waste Solutions?
If your accumulative E-waste is rather minimal, there are other ways aside from appropriate recycling that will help these products avoid becoming junkyard rubbish.
● Electronic products, such as television sets, laptops, computers, DVD or VCR players and more, can always be donated to local thrift shops that accept such goods.
● Discarded cell phones in particular are usually accepted by either your cell phone provider or other retail stores, which in turn are generally used to restore broken phone parts or transformed into new phone accessories.
Do Your Part for Sustainability
Whether you’re in dire need of efficient E-waste disposal, or you’re simply looking for more suitable, proactive waste solutions, LJP Waste Solutions is ready and willing to help meet your sustainability goals any way we can.
You can contact us online today to speak to our team of experts on how we can manage, process, and reuse your commercial or residential waste, or give us a call at 507.625.1968 to learn more about how you can help us achieve our goal of a zero-landfill initiative.