Recycling and circularity is something we need to start taking seriously. Over time and advances in technology, the use of electronic products is increasing rapidly. So is the production of electronic waste (E-waste). Often, we do not manage this waste properly causing harmful emissions. This leads to global pollution, habitat destruction and climate change.
We cannot ignore the fact that there are limited natural resources. The world needs to shift to a circular economic system where there is production, consumption, and then reuse of products. We can then make the most use of them instead of discarding.
Often, E-waste ends up in landfills. There it releases toxic elements like chromium and mercury into the environment leading to soil, air, and water pollution. These toxic elements not only harm wildlife but also our own health.
Recycling waste lowers the need to mine for raw materials and puts less pressure on natural resources. It also helps to keep waste out of landfills. Recycling minimizes the risk of causing health issues in people and animals living in nearby areas.
E-waste recycling also provides useful materials. These include glass, aluminium, copper, gold, and plastics which can be used to produce new products.
According to a report from the United Nations (UN), approximately 50,000,000 tonnes of E-waste is generated each year. There is 100 times more gold in one tonne of E-waste than in one tonne of mined gold ore.
Instead of throwing away E-waste we must start selling or donating our used devices. For example, old mobile phones, laptops and televisions to recycling centres.
Companies like SellMyiPhone buy old phones at reasonable prices and refurbish them to give them a new life. Similarly, other companies like Ruezone specialise in selling refurbished devices for people wishing to be conscientious consumers.
Many consumers do not consider buying refurbished electronic products as they are unaware of the benefits. We have put together a list of some of the benefits of reusing electronics. Let’s explore some of these.
Buying a refurbished device can be significantly cheaper than buying one that is brand new. Even the latest devices in excellent condition get traded into companies such as SellMyiPhone. Smart consumers can obtain good as new devices at bargain prices. Buying refurbished devices an easy way to recycle electronic products. You can therefore save money and minimize your environmental footprint at the same time!
By minimising your own E-waste and reusing electronic devices, you can significantly decrease your carbon footprint. Much of the carbon footprint associated with electronics is generated during the production phase. Most of these come from the mining of resources and the mega-factories where they are produced.
If there is circularity in technology products, less resources are required for the manufacturing of new products. This way you minimize your individual environmental footprint.
The manufacture of electronic products requires a lot of natural resources. Obtaining raw materials such as gold, copper, silver and platinum, requires companies engage in large scale mining operations for instance. However, these mining activities are often carried out in environmentally sensitive areas, sometimes illegally, leading to loss of habitat and reduced biodiversity. When we decide to buy refurbished electronic products our need to manufacture new ones is decreased as a result. This helps preserve natural habitats and biodiversity along with reducing pollution and climate change.
To obtain good quality refurbished electronic devices for reuse, you must give your old tech products to recycling facilities. Making use of these services increases the demand for labour in recycling industries which in turn creates employment opportunities. Reusing tech products therefore not only helps in environmental sustainability but also creates socio-economic benefits. With more and more devices being discarded annually the opportunities for employment are vast.
The less fortunate often receive our recycled devices. This increases the accessibility of electronics to people in underprivileged positions and makes it easy for them to afford electronic goods. People can also donate their used tech products to charitable organizations, schools, or financially unstable families rather than discarding them.
We often take for granted the unparalleled access to information that modern technology has afforded us in modern society and the benefits associated. A circular electronic economy also grants access to modern devices to those in developing nations. The value that easy access to information carries, such as educational resources and important news cannot be overstated.
Producing our new products requires energy to mine, filter and transport the raw materials. Recycling and circularity of electronics can minimize the need of production for new ones. This translates into less energy usage to obtain essential materials from the earth.
To preserve natural resources, lower our collective carbon footprint, and promote community and environmental benefits, we must start considering E-waste minimization as a priority. Protecting the environment needs to be a primary motivation for all of us as it will help lead us to a sustainable future. In conclusion, we must begin taking some initiatives and all contribute towards the betterment of the world.
Written by Nick Rose
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