“E-waste,” or “electronic waste,” is a term used to describe electronics that are nearing the end of their usefulness and are discarded, donated, or recycled. E-waste includes anything with plugs, cords, and electronics components such as cellphones, personal computers, gaming consoles, home appliances, and more.
According to a 2019 World Economic Forum report, the world produces about 50 million tons of electronic and electrical waste every year, and only 20% of this is formally recycled. This means 80% of electronic waste ends up in landfills or is informally recycled in developing countries. Improper recycling or disposal of electronic waste can lead to contaminants leaking into soil and groundwater, putting food supplies and water sources at risk.
In addition to the environmental impacts, the report states improper management of e-waste results in a significant loss of valuable raw materials such as gold, lithium, platinum, and other rare earth elements.
As technology evolves and keeps improving our electronics, we often find ourselves discarding functional electronics for the latest models. Our tendency to carelessly discard working or fixable electronics has created a global e-waste problem that we must work together to solve.
Reducing e-waste is not just about eliminating those environmental risks or resource conservation; it is about building good recycling habits, learning to use what you need, and properly maintaining your precious items. This article will teach you five ways to reduce your e-waste footprint.
The most common source of e-waste is purchasing items we do not need. Before upgrading your phone or buying the latest electronic gadget on the market, ask yourself:
If you answered “no” to any of the questions, you might want to re-evaluate your thoughts and avoid buying it. If you decide to purchase, always check to see if the company offers a trade-in or buyback program. Companies like Acer have a trade-in program that allows you to redeem used electronics for store credit; the traded electronics are refurbished and donated to a charitable cause.
Taking proper care of your electronics is another straightforward way to prolong their life span. A protective case, occasional clean, and careful charging can help protect your electronics’ outer layer and inner circuits. If you have broken Acer electronics, you can try contacting the support site for repairs.
Avoid buying new electronic devices that the maker cannot reuse or recycle. Look for products labeled Energy Star or certified by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool. Companies that care about the environment will work hard to incorporate sustainability into their products. Acer Vero is an excellent example of innovative design and technology that embraces eco-friendliness.
The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is a timeless idiom that holds even for outdated or used electronics. If you do not need something, donate it so that it can be appreciated by someone else. Donate used electronics to nonprofit organizations like Gamers Outreach; they will repurpose your gaming items and use them to bring joy and entertainment to hospitalized children in the United States.
If you can no longer find a use for your electronic products and are ready to throw them away, you must find a dedicated e-waste recycling center. Improperly disposed of e-waste is a health and environmental hazard that must be avoided.
E-waste is a source of valuable materials that can be harvested for rare earth metals. Because of this, many organizations or companies are willing to take the electronic waste and have it professionally recycled for parts or materials.
Now that you have become more familiar with reducing e-waste, you must start taking action. The earth is something we all share, and we must preserve this planet so that future generations can enjoy it as well.