What Are The Problems Associated With E-Waste?
E-waste accounts for any electronic or electrical equipment that has been discarded. It comprises of broken and working items that are donated to charity or thrown in the garbage. Generally, when an item goes unsold in the store, it is thrown away. E-waste is especially dangerous owing to the toxic chemicals that leach from the metals inside when buried. Thus, end of life hardware destruction becomes significant.
With technological advances coming at us at a great speed, a range of electronic devices and equipment that still work fine get considered obsolete. Consider the quantity of VCRs that got replaced when the DVD players were introduced and now the DVD players being replaced by Blu-ray players. When a product is powered electronically, people think that they can create a better version and this leads to electronic waste. This electronic waste needs to be handled effectively with the help of e-waste data destruction.
E-waste contains toxic materials
Modern electronic gadgets and equipment are safe to use but these electronics contain a range of toxic materials like cadmium, beryllium, lead and mercury which introduce grave environmental risks to our water, wildlife, soil and air. When electronic waste is buried in a landfill, it can easily dissolve in small traces into the huge sludge that saturates at the landfill. Slowly, these traces of toxic substances pool into the ground below the landfill. This is called leaching. The more metals and e-waste accumulate at the landfill, the more of these toxic substances present themselves in the groundwater.
The toxic water under the landfill does not simply end there. It continues to the groundwater and other sources to all the freshwater in the nearby areas. This is not only harmful for someone utilizing a natural well but also the nearby wildlife. This in turn leads to the wildlife to become sick from cadmium, arsenic and lead and other kinds of metal poisonings owing to the high concentration of these materials.
Mining for new metals also leads to release of toxic substances. Thus, having an eco-friendly source of recycled metals is better for the environment than to dig up new sources of ore. Whenever you recycle your electronic equipment, you prevent your e-waste from leaching toxic metals into the groundwater and also prevent the unnecessary mining of new metals.
How can you help?
Luckily, there is a solution to deal with e-waste. The recycling of electronic waste serves a range of useful purposes. You can protect environmental and human health by keeping the obsolete and end-of-life electronic devices out of landfills. Or, you can recover the parts in the devices that still have some value and offer manufacturers recycled metals that can be utilized to craft new products. Almost all kinds of electronic waste comprise of some kind of recyclable material. This includes materials like glass, metals, plastic which can be considered as 'obsolete' or 'junk' to consumers but still serve an important purpose. Ewaste companies ensure that the valuable materials present in electronic waste are recovered effectively before the equipment is disposed of.
The dangers concerning electronic waste
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a range of health risks can happen as a consequence of coming in direct contact with toxic materials that leak from electronic waste. These include materials like chromium, cadmium, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and brominated flame retardants. It is harmful to inhale these toxic fumes and the accumulation of chemicals in food, water and soil also pose innumerable hazards.
This results in danger not only for humans but also for sea and land animals. The risks are especially high in developing countries because certain developed countries send their electronic waste to developing countries. Studies have depicted that this global electronic waste has detrimental effects on people that work with it and also on people that live around it. Thus, it is vital that there is a proper recycling process in place that can protect the present as well as future generations.
For businesses, it becomes especially important to have a corporate electronic recycling plan in place. This is because businesses are responsible to ensure the security of their clients and the data of employees. Donating old business electronics or throwing them away can be legal liability because of the sensitive information contained in them.