Electronics is one of the fastest growing types of waste on earth, as it becomes more accessible throughout the world. At the same time, it is considered one of the harmful types of waste.
Electronic waste has become so widespread that it has gotten its own name: E-waste. E-waste embodies all electrical- or electronic equipment that is broken, disrupted, obsolete or anything electrical that you dispose of - it covers anything from an old oven to space engineering technology.
E-waste is especially bad for our climate, as it contains an abundance of dangerous chemicals, such as mercury, which is not only bad for the environment, but also for the health of people. When people dispose of e-waste, these chemicals poison our water, soil and even the air that we breathe, thus impacting humans on a daily basis.
Luckily we can do a lot about where e-waste ends up, both on a collective- and individual level.
As a collective, we can maximize the use of materials in production, create value of waste and substitute energy sources with renewables and natural processes. With these incentives we look for positive deviance - things we can do better for the climate without sacrificing anything in order to become more sustainable. At the same time we slow down consumption patterns of society and improve our circular economy.
On an individual level, products like your phone can be sold, donated or regifted. You can also buy used electronics, such as buying a used standard 4K TV, instead of the new and state-of-the art model. This is not only more environmentally friendly, but also less expensive and considered a more valuable option for many.
Another plausible incentive to mitigate the dangerous consequences of dumping electronics is simply recycling, which is becoming more accessible in many Western communities. An example is Newtech Recycling, which is an electronic waste and data destruction company who offers on-site e-waste pick up, in order to easen the recycling process of consumers and thereby provide incentives for sustainable living.
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