Do you have any broken or obsolete batteries, charges, and other electronic devices in your home? If you do, did you know that by keeping them in your house you are putting your health at risk?
In a study done in Australia, 1 out of 5 respondents admitted to being hoarders of outdated electronic devices. About 2/3 of them stated that the main reason why they don’t recycle is that they are scared that their personal data might get compromised. Although the study was done in Australia, I’m sure most of us has a pile of e-waste at home. If left undisposed, this might eventually grow over time. Whatever your reasons are for keeping them, it is best to discard them as soon you are no longer using them.
What is e-waste?
Electronic wastes or e-wastes for short, are broken or outdated electronic devices and their parts. Examples are your cameras, chargers, cellphones, DVDs, lamps, modems, printers, radios, televisions, washing machines and many others. In short, anything that has batteries and cords are considered e-wastes. Yes, even your AAA and AA batteries are e-wastes.
Why is it harmful?
E-wastes contain toxic substances such as barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, lithium and mercury. These components when inhaled or through direct exposure can cause severe illnesses, organ damage, birth defects, neurological problems and even death.
Why is proper disposal important?
Improper disposal of e-wastes poses a great threat not only to our health but to the environment as well. According to statistics, only about 20% of global e-wastes are recycled. The rests are either destroyed through burning or dumped into landfills.
When e-waste is warmed up much more if burned, toxic chemicals are released in the air. Not only will it damage the atmosphere, it could also lead to severe respiratory problems if inhaled.
The toxins found on e-wastes are non-biodegradable. They will remain in the land for a very long period of time and will contaminate our food crops.
If the heavy metals found on e-wastes found their way to groundwater channels, they will run to the surface of streams, rivers or ponds. This in turn will result to the death of living things, both animals and plants living on these bodies of water. It will also lead to contaminated water which in turn will cause poisoning to both humans and animals.
How to Dispose Properly?
Before anything else, there is one thing that you should remember, that is to NEVER, EVER THROW YOUR E-WASTE IN THE TRASH!!!
Do any of the following instead:
1. Prolong Use Life
The best thing to do is to prolong the use life of your electronic devices. If it is broken, have it fixed first before buying a new one.
If your phone, computer, television or any electronic gadget is still functioning properly, ask yourself if you really need an upgrade? If you do, ask yourself why do you need an upgrade? If your purpose is just so you can keep up with the trend or you want to impress others, forget it! You might as well put your money on investments.
Why keep unwanted trash when you can make money out of it? However, don’t expect to recover the original cost of your device. After all, electronics are depreciating assets. Selling is just one way of disposing your devices and earn money at the same time.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. – English Proverb
Just a reminder, before you sell your cellphones and computers, make sure that you have backed up all your data and deleted them from your old device.
If the device is still working and you don’t want to be bothered by the hassle of selling your old electronic devices, why not donate them instead? By donating, you are doing three things at the same time. One, you are getting rid of your trash. Two, you are helping the environment because donating is a form of recycling. And lastly, you are helping other people in need.
Aside from selling and donating, you can also recycle your e-waste by giving them to an e-waste recycler that is certified by the Basel Action Network (BAN), a non-profit organization dedicated in the pursuit of responsible recycle of e-waste. Click here to find a certified recycler near you.
You can also contact your local government, civic institutions or the manufacturer of your e-waste for their recycling programs. Sometimes, you can find drop off points in malls, schools and offices for your e-wastes.
If you are in the Philippines, you can also contact eWaste Management (Philippines) to schedule a pick-up for your e-waste.