My inquiry question is: What are the dangers of electronic consumer waste that we must consider globally?
Round 3 research: What can we do to reduce/alleviate this problem? What solutions are already in progress, and what solutions are waiting to be put in action?
From the previous blog post, we learned how the improper handling of e-waste could be detrimental to mankind and the environment; therefore, we must become aware of the methods to alleviate this problem.
As technology becomes more advanced year by year, the life span of our devices shortens; this means the amount of e-waste sent to landfills is rapidly growing (3). There are a few solutions to reducing e-waste that have already been put into action.
- Recycling (3)
The first step is to keep all the used electronic devices out of our trash; instead, we can hoard these devices in our closets or desk drawers. Consumers can then take these used electronics to an experienced recycling firm, where the devices will be disassembled, separated, categorized by material, and shredded mechanically for more advanced sorting.
- Donate or sell working electronics (2)
By simply selling our working electronics, we are accomplishing the act of “reuse.” You may sell your devices to other people who may use them, resell them, or use/sell the parts of the device. Alternatively, we can also sell it to a recycling website, where our devices will be repurposed or recycled effectively.
- Environmental friendly electronics (1)
When buying new electronics, people are starting to be more aware of looking for an environmentally friendly label. By seeing if the products are labeled Energy Star or have been certified by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool before we purchase, we are doing our part in reducing e-waste.
- Take good care of your electronic devices (1)
Most people are careful with their devices, as they have spent the money to buy them. For instance, we often use screen protectors and cases to keep our devices protected. One thing people can work on is to not overcharge their battery so that they can improve the battery’s overall lifespan.
- Use your old mobile phone for music or GPS (2)
While we buy new devices to enjoy faster and better use, our old devices are not necessarily useless. Instead of recycling or selling them, we can also keep them for our own use. For example, our old phones can be used as GPS devices or music players. Old devices can also be used as monitor security cameras or converted into remote controls.
While many solutions are already in progress, there are also many other effective solutions that we should take more consideration and make a commitment to doing:
- Spread the word and educate others (3)
While reusing plastic, glass, and metals has become the norm, we should work on making recycling electronic items the norm too. To achieve this, we must spread the word and educate people on the harms of e-waste. For instance, teachers may incorporate the issue of e-waste into their lessons. Moreover, we can share about e-waste on social media to allow more awareness within the general crowd. We can also spread the message to our family, friends, neighbours, and coworkers. There are many ways of educating others on e-waste, and when most people are aware of the issue, we achieve a milestone in reducing e-waste.
- Consume less (2)
Of reduce, reuse, and recycle, reduce is the most effective in limiting the amount of e-waste. Rather than buying a new device, we can choose to repair our old devices or upgrade the software. Although it is a small choice, if many people can limit the number of devices they buy, there will be an apparent result in reducing e-waste. Moreover, often it is not necessary to buy the newest version of every device. By holding back a few versions, we save our money and save the environment.
- Be a good consumer (1)
Do some research before buying a new product. See if the product has good quality and whether if it contains environmentally harmful components. Ultimately, we are aiming to buy products with a long lifespan, so we do not have to replace them shortly.
- Organize your electronics (2)
Organizing our devices also allows us to reduce the number of new electronic devices we buy. For example, you may need to buy a memory stick for a project; yet, after you organize your devices, you may discover one that you already had. So, you don’t need to buy one anymore. Buying one less memory stick may not make a significant change, but if people get into the habit of organizing their electronics, the results would be much more apparent.
- Check E-cycling Centres (2)
When our e-wastes cannot be donated or resold, we can give these electronics to free sites. These E-cycling centres have local groups that are moderated by local volunteers, and we can collect our e-wastes once a while so they can be given away to e-cycling centres.
The above includes some solutions that are already in progress and some which I believe should be taken more consideration. As time progresses, it is likely electronic devices will improve in quality and increase in number; therefore, we need to be ready for the results. By taking simple moves and making small changes in our lives to alleviate the problems of e-waste, we will achieve a milestone in maintaining a better world.
- C. (2019, April 4). Simple Ideas on How to Reduce E-waste. Great Lakes Electronics. https://www.ewaste1.com/how-to-reduce-e-waste/
- Magazine, G. C. (2021, June 15). 10 Ways to Reduce E-Waste. Green Child Magazine. https://www.greenchildmagazine.com/reduce-ewaste/
- Seo, C. B. (2020, June 12). Top Solutions to E-waste Problems. Great Lakes Electronics. https://www.ewaste1.com/solutions-e-waste-problems