E-waste is constantly growing, hence the need for effective electronics recycling methods. E-waste has become a popular form of waste worldwide. The high number of cheap electronics available in the market compounded by the rapid growth of the electronics industry has made e-waste a pertinent issue that needs to be dealt with. Here is some basic information on what E-Waste is, its importance, and how it affects health and the environment.
What Is E-Waste?
E-waste implies electronics like stereos, television sets, computer equipment, and mobile phones. These gadgets can often be recycled or refurbished; however, a significant amount is dumped in landfills. Most of the global e-waste is deposited in landfills with only a significant amount being recycled. In third world countries, tonnes of electronic waste are disposed of inappropriately, leading to high levels of environmental pollution.
Why Is E-Waste Recycling Important?
Is a Source of Raw Materials: The United Nations recently reported that electronic waste contains precious metals that are richer than what is extracted in mining fields.
Provides Solid Waste: Due to technological developments and the high rate at which electronics are quickly being rendered unusable, there has been a steady growth in the availability of solid waste.
Avoids Pollution By Toxic Materials: Old electronics contain toxic elements. They also contain flame retardants. Therefore, proper processing methods ensure that these elements do not cause environmental pollution.
Spreads Internationally: E-waste has quickly spread to third world countries where there is readily available cheap labour and sub-standard methods of recycling, posing great health risks to persons exposed to these toxins.
Because of these reasons, recycling the waste is very important.
What Are the Hazards of E-Waste?
Electronics have toxic elements like cadmium, mercury, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls. These elements often lead to respiratory, neurological, bone, and digestive problems. Apart from these threats, e-waste recycling methods also endanger both health and the environment. For example, informal recycling involving the burning of plastics releases dioxins in the environment. The procedure for leaching circuit boards with hydrochloric and nitric acid to recover gold can lead to circulatory problems and burns. Severe exposure to these acids can lead to death.
Summing It Up
E-waste has grown due to the fast development pace in the electronics industry. Many companies implement poor methods of recycling e-waste resulting in environmental pollution. The health and environmental implications of electric waste are quite alarming and range from respiratory infections to circulatory and digestive disorders. There is a need for more legislation to be passed and strict standards to be developed with regards to recycling and disposing of electronic waste.