Effective Ways to Reduce E-Waste
More and more efforts are being made to lessen the amount of electronic waste all over the globe. The issues surrounding electronic waste are increasing as the amount of e-waste continues to grow with each passing year. Here in the United States, there are new regulations and laws being made. These new laws and regulations can be helpful when it comes to managing our global electronic waste problem.
Unfortunately, some of the e-waste recycling companies in developed countries like the United States seem to be contributing to the electronic waste problem whenever they export large amounts of e-waste to developing countries in places like Asia and West Africa.
The Effects of Exporting E-Waste
Recycling of electronic waste is supposed to be helpful to our environment. It can help keep less toxic materials out of landfills, which in turn, keeps less pollution out of our air and less contamination out of our soil and water supplies. However, when e-waste is exported to developing countries, this can actually defeat the purpose of our e-cycling efforts.
Developing countries recycle e-waste in informal, unregulated “backyard” e-cycling facilities. The e-cycling workers are not protected from the potentially harmful toxins and other potentially hazardous materials, and very little to no steps are taken to ensure air pollution and water and soil contamination is kept to a minimum.
Choosing Reputable E-Cycling Companies
The environments around these informal e-cycling plants are suffering from the effects of e-waste in numerous ways. This is one of the biggest reasons why it is important that we only choose to use certified recycling centers or original electronic product manufacturers whenever we recycle our electronics. Also, you should conduct a little bit of research when deciding on an e-cycling facility to make sure your local e-waste remains local (within the U.S.).
E-waste recycling programs that have been reviewed by the BAN Basel Action Network. This means that they do not export e-waste to developing countries which only adds to an already growing electronic waste issue. Unfortunately, these are not located in every state of the U.S. just yet.
A third recommended option is to locate a certified recycling center in your area that accepts electronic waste. You should always remember to ask if their e-waste remains in the country or if it is exported to developing nations.
Benefits of Reducing E-Waste
When our electronic waste is properly recycled, it is beneficial to the environment as well as our general health. A reduction in e-waste equals a reduction in air pollution and a reduction in contaminated soil and water. It also means increased “above ground mining.” Above ground mining is a term used to describe the harvesting of rare metals and other useful materials from recycled electronics which reduces the need to mine them from within the earth.
With all of these ways to effectively reduce e-waste, it is important to spread the word and have as many people participate in effective e-cycling as possible. In this way we can take steps to improve our world’s environment.