We all want the latest technology or up-to-the-minute specifications from a smartphone or a laptop. Without thinking twice, we discard our out-dated models to feed this need. This viral trend defines the lifestyles of millions around the globe. But at what price?
Each year, 20 to 50 metric tons of electronic waste (e-waste) are disposed into landfills or incinerators that release toxic chemicals like mercury and lead into the air. Almost 80 to 90 percent of all electronic products are discarded worldwide. And with the entry of every new laptop, smartphone or any other electronic gadget in the market, the volume of e-waste increases.
When it comes to recycling – aluminum cans, newspapers, plastic bottles and cardboard boxes come into mind. None of us really fathom the idea of recycling old laptops, televisions, mobile phones or those tangled-up cords stashed in the dark corners of our drawers. But the code – ‘Reuse and Recycle’ – should be implemented in all possible cases. Recycling e-waste not only reduces the toxic harm on our environment but also helps in recovering precious natural resources like gold and silver. Instead of digging up these resources from the Earth and hampering the forestry nearby, these metals can be extracted from existing electronic products. For people worried about protecting their privacy – taking your old laptop to an on-site recycling center can give you that comfort, as opposed to deleting personal information on your device that does not always do the trick if fallen into the wrong hands.
Lately, several companies such as Apple, Sony, Dell and Toshiba are allowing their customers to return certain electronic equipment for a small fee. Apart from these big names, there are a myriad of small establishments that are more than happy to take your used laptop or mobile, as they can sell these as refurbished products. But what if you can’t stop the urge to buy the latest offerings? Well, make sure that you sell your old mobile or laptop to someone else and contribute to the ‘reuse’ cycle. Also check your local thrift shops and read the daily classifieds for information on secondhand products.
Another solution to the issue of ever-increasing e-waste is utilizing the technology available to us. For example, storing our files and data on a cloud server and stretching the life of our electronic odds and ends can contribute to the cause. In conclusion – do recycle, do reuse but do not let your garages and cabinets become electronic burial grounds.