As technology advances and our dependence on devices grows, so does the amount of trash associated with electronics. This waste stream is known as e-waste.
What is E-Waste?
E-waste, short for electronic waste, classifies any electronic device that is no longer in use. This could be as a result of them breaking or being replaced by a newer version.
E-waste does not only refer to a device as a whole, but also includes its separate components and individual materials.
Examples of E-Waste Devices
Many different kinds of technology that we use in our everyday lives will eventually become e-waste. These devices include:
- Cell phones
- Audio Systems
- Gaming devices
- Modems and routers
- GPS Devices
- And more
Problems with E-Waste
This growing waste stream drains resources and endangers environments when improperly disposed of. Ideally, all electronic waste would be properly recycled, with no hazardous or valuable materials sent to the landfill.
For example, each year, over $60 million in gold and silver is thrown into landfills through improper e-waste disposal. While these elements of e-waste are valuable, other materials found in common electronic devices can be harmful.
For example, certain heavy metals and chemicals found in electronics can have severe impacts on our bodies, land, air, and water if incorrectly disposed of.
The solution? Participation in proper e-cycling, or electronic waste recycling, initiatives.
To be more sustainable in your technological consumption, individuals can seek out buyback programs for old devices or research local recycling and donation drop-offs. Another environmentally friendly (and wallet-friendly) option is to repair defective devices before choosing to replace them altogether.
Businesses can also partner with e-waste recycling programs, like those offered by Rubicon, that pick up or provide drop-off locations for end-of-life electronics.
If you’re wondering how your small business can improve its e-waste (or other) recycling processes, check out our Business Solutions page.