From E-waste to E-cycle!

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The rise in the accumulation of wastes has been an age old topic of consideration. Newer kinds of wastes are being generated which are citing problems. For example, various electronic materials that are harmful have shot up in recent times. Few of those items that can be listed to be hazardous are computer monitors featuring cathode ray tubes, LCD desktop monitors, television sets, LCD televisions, Plasma televisions, Portable DVD players with LCD screens. But note that the list is not limited to only these items. It has been observed through research that for every new cell phone bought another cell phone is thrown away. Imagine the piling up of these mobiles especially when buying cell phones has become as common as shopping for dresses. With the changing trend of mobiles, people are liable to buy a new style of mobile. The same can be said about the computers, televisions, etc. thus from the heavy bulky televisions, the televisions have slimmed down over the years to LCD and LED. And if that was not enough, we also have newer technologies and features springing up in the market every now and then in the form of 3D or HD or Smart TVs.

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Although this electronic waste or e-waste represents almost 10% of the share of waste materials in landfills, it covers over 75% of the overall toxic waste generated. 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year. Thus you can understand the severity of the matter. Major amount of the useless electronic products which is about 85 to 90% are thrown away in garbage dumps or cast away into incinerators. As another matter of fact, this e waste is also emerging as the quickest growing municipal waste in the cities. Such instances of occurrences are especially high in the developed nations like the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, etc. Yet the developing countries like China, India and Brazil are slowly catching up with this trend which is really extremely bad news.

According to a research, our very own mobile phones and other items consists not only precious metals but also valuable metals like silver and gold. Thus we are casting away millions of phones and with it several million dollars worth of gold or silver every year even as the gold prices refuse to drop. But the metal that is carried in the garbage bin the most is copper. Being an excellent conductor of electric current, its contribution is noteworthy not only in the mobile industry, but also in every other electronic and electrical based company. Palladium is another such metal that needs to be used in the world of electronic manufacturing. With the current rate of mass dumping of such metals, every soon there is going to occur a state when such valuable metals will face scarcity apart from hike in the prices.

One of the quickest things that come to mind in terms of reducing the dump is recycling and reusing of the wastes. Unfortunately the percentage of e-waste that is being currently recycled is hardly enough to make any significant contribution. Nevertheless, at least some amount of energy can be recovered from such processes. Consider an example here. Recycling 1 million laptops can result to saving of the amount of energy required to power around 5000 homes! Thus, its potential cannot be overlooked. One thing that needs to be reminded is that majority of the stuff which is being discarded as e-waste is basically not waste at all, in fact they are whole electronic devices or parts of those devices that can be further used in the market, thus making them readily available for reuse. Also, they can be recycled for things after recovery. According to a certain survey, about 550 kilos of fossil fuel, 40 kilos of chemicals and over 1 ton of water is required to manufacture a single desktop computer. You can see how much excessively the earthly materials which are already scarce now-a-days have to pay for our negligence in proper electronic materials reuse.

Its negative consequences are vast and varied especially in terms of the health. This results in excessive release of poisonous wastes. Burning causes release of harmful chemicals which are present in these products in the form of elements like lead, smoke, etc. This aggravated amount of lead is enough to cause most of the serious damages to the various systems of the body like in the nervous systems primarily the central nervous system and also the peripheral nervous system. In addition to that even the blood cells are greatly affected and hence abnormality of the blood cells may be observed. The risk of occurrence of such diseases has multiplied manifolds in recent times. But the potential risks for the future generations are even more alarming. There might arrive an era when any kind of exposure to the environment may prove to be dangerous and cause skin problems or even turn fatal. We definitely do not want such a time to arrive in future, do we? If the answer is yes, it is high time we start pondering over the matter and take the desired action in the right direction.

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electronic_waste

  • khizraashraf

    What does it mean

  • khizraashraf

    I want to make a model about recycle