We suddenly remember about saving the earth every 5th of June. Yes, because today is World Environment Day. But, once the day gets over, everything goes back to normal. We forget that the earth is suffocating from tonnes of waste churned out by us. We also conveniently forget one binding fact.
There is no Plan(et) B!
Earth is our only home!
Why World Environment Day?
The day commemorates emphasizing the importance of nature conservation and raising awareness among the masses on protecting our ONLY natural home. When we think intensely about the hazards we face right now, what comes to mind are the deterrents we face in the disposal of e-waste.
What Defines E-Waste?
Gadgets and appliances have become our lifelines, and we can't survive without them anymore. But have we stopped to think about what impact it will have on our beloved planet if not disposed of correctly? Thanks to our unrelenting reliance on electronics, e-waste is now the largest contributor waste stream worldwide.
E-waste is a collective term we use to describe the waste created by useless, unused, or damaged electronic goods such as your laptop, smartphone, tablets,….. you get the drift. The sad fact is most of us have no clue what to do with them once they become redundant or damaged. If not discarded in an environmentally friendly way, it will do more bad than good.
Does the U.S. Have E-Waste Laws?
There is currently no U.S. federal law mandating you to recycle e-waste. Toxic electronic wastes such as Cathode ray tubes (CRTs)), though, are covered under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). There are no laws to stop them from being shipped off to third-world countries for disposal.
Yeah, not a good thought, we know!
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers e-waste a subset of used electronics. Instead of throwing them into a landfill or unprotected dump site, they have been harping on the importance of recycling, refurbishing, or reusing all or part of them.
The poisonous mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead in the e-waste seep out and contaminate the surrounding soil, creating congenital disabilities and posing severe health risks. Some elements, such as barium and lithium, dissolve in water and are carcinogenic. When burnt, the hydrocarbons in them severely pollute the air.
So, What Can You Do?
Checklists to keep in mind when buying and discarding electronic gadgets:
Recycle, Refurbish, Reuse, Repeat!
Be a mindful consumer
Reuse products often
Limit the electronic devices you buy
Understand the components of your gadgets
Shop at environmentally friendly brands
Understand security hazards
Educate the next generation on e-waste hazards
Six Simple Ways to Reduce the E-Waste You Create
We have compiled a list of 6 quick and easy ways to reduce your e-waste production at home and workplace.
1: Recycle, Refurbish, Reuse
According to the Environmental Protection Agency estimates, recycling the precious metals and plastics used in our old mobile phones can save up energy used to power up to 24,000 U.S. homes per year. We should rethink reusing existing materials instead of mining or manufacturing new ones. You could even put the broken components through an effective recycling process so they'd come in handy later. Take help from certified recycling firms to dismantle your old gadgets, so you ensure their effective reuse.
2: Be a Mindful Buyer
When buying a new gadget, make sure you get one with components that you can recycle later. Understand what goes inside your device. Make sure your new buy lasts for a more extended period, reducing the need to shop again immediately. Put in some hard research to shop from quality brands that use good components that would last you for a very long time. Buy multifunctional gadgets, so you do not have to buy gadgets for every function.
3: Educate the Next Generation
Our kids decide the fate of our planet. We must sensitize them on the issues of waste management. Please give them a tour of a recycling plant. Tell them about the health hazards they will face if they are not careful. Let them understand that they could reuse most parts of their gadgets. Above all, teach them how to dispose of their electronic goods responsibly.
4: Shop from Accountable Brands
Look for environmentally friendly, cruelty-free, vegan brands that manufacture and sell ethically. Make sure that they use environmentally friendly components. Ensure that the products you get have the necessary certifications and licenses. E.g., the Energy Star or the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool certification.
5: Maintain the Gadgets You Have
Keep your phones and laptops cleaned, charged, and updated, so you don't have to discard them often. Ensure the longevity of whatever you are regularly using. Maintain the ones you store, like hard disks, at frequent intervals, so they thrive for years. If something is damaged, attempt to replace it with parts available to you. If that doesn't work, try to get them repaired through a service provider. Attempt everything before you decide to toss it aside - trash with care when you do.
6: Be Aware of the Security Threats
Your electronic gadgets are often privy to sensitive information. They usually store your social security numbers, bank account details, internet passwords, and private data. If they fall into the wrong hands, you can imagine the havoc it can cause. It is more reason to use your gadgets the whole nine yards. This information would automatically restrain you from making more buys. Make sure to scrub your devices clean before sending them for recycling
We thought it was only fitting to send this message to everyone out there today so we could do our tiny bit to save planet earth.We hope these tips will help you reduce e-waste.
It doesn't hurt to be considerate to the planet that we live in, its environment, and our fellow living beings.
It is high time!
Let's Walk the Talk. Not Just Talk the Talk!