The Effects of E-Waste on Our Environment

The Effects of E-Waste on Our Environment

It’s really hard to resist the newest electronics the moment they hit the shelves. However, every time you buy the new version of an iPhone, computer, etc. you have to discard the old version. How do we do that so that it is safe for the environment?

E-waste, or electronic waste, refers to electronic products that have reached the end of their useful life. They may be obsolete, non-functioning or unwanted. E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world.

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 released by ITU, the UN University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), has increased by 3.3 million metric tons or 8 percent from 2014 to 2016. Experts foresee a 17 percent increase of e-waste by 2021.

On a yearly basis, we produce about 44.7 metric tons globally.

Source: Global E-Waste Monitor 2017

According to this report, we only recycle or dispose about 20 percent properly. This means that the other 80% ends up in landfills around the world which leads to pollution of rivers and soil, and brings about a myriad human health risks

Throwing out e-waste rather than recycling it also leads to a huge loss in valuable resources and money. Cell phones and personal computers, for example, contain valuable metals like gold and copper that can be harvested for a profit and reused to make new electronics devices. These devices can often be harvested for useful parts.

The question is what can you, as a consumer of these products, do to help.

  • For starters, start buying from retailers like DealScoop and help deter products frombeing landfilled in the first place.
  • There are also tons of great resources online to help you reduce and properly dispose of your used electronics. Check out our guide to “Recycle it Right.” This quick and easy 5-step resource will help you ensure that you dispose of electronics in an environmentally friendly manner.

So before you toss that old keyboard or flip phone in the trash, please remember the consequences and do your part to help reduce our mountain of e-waste.

Why recycle electronic waste?

Well, for one, it’s the law! Throwing electronic waste into landfills and other areas can cause environmental hazards. For example, the illegal dumping of cathode tubes (found in televisions, computer monitors, video cameras and other devices) can cause lead, barium and other heavy metals leaking into groundwater as well as the release of toxic phosphor. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that recycling one million laptops conserves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 homes in the United States annually!

More Electronics, More Electronic Waste

As technology continues to advance and new products are released globally, the amount of electronic waste increases. In the United States, the EPA estimates that 30 million computers are discarded annually. The e-waste management market is a $4.4 billion industry with projections expected to reach $52.2 billion by 2022.

The conclusion that we as consumer can make from all this is that we need start taking care to recycle our electronics properly and thereby keeping them out of landfills. We should also pursue greener companies that have a recycle program or even companies that buy uses products and refurbish them to sell them back to consumers and thereby keeping them out of landfills. Companies like DealScoop. Want to learn about how we refurbish our products? Find out here:

Sep 18th 2018 Rachel Swink

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