There are about 50 plus electronic items most households have these days – multiple mobile phones, multiple tablets, multiple laptops, multiple TVs, washing machines, multiple clocks, kitchen gadgets, and many more. Unfortunately, these items also get out-dated very fast and that means you need to throw them out and make way for the upgraded ones. So, when you throw them out, where do they land up? In the land fills. And that’s disastrous environmentally and economically.
Some report likened the volume of e-wastes generated (about 40 million metric tons in a year) to the weight of steel required for 4500 Eiffel Towers. Only about 20% of e-waste is recycled. Are you aware of how much of e-waste is recoverable? About USD 42 billion. What’s recoverable? Well, the gadgets that we use are built with motherboards, chips, etc. These contain precious metals like silver, gold and even platinum. Now, these metals can be recovered.
Earlier, we said that only 20% of e-waste is recycled and that additionally there is a considerable value within the discarded gadgets that is not recovered. Now, comes the dangerous part – the environmentally dangerous part. The gadgets contain hazardous materials: mercury, arsenic, lead and While these elements can still be recycled/reused, they are actually rejected and discarded into landfills. And as they are exposed to the environment in the landfills they become a health hazard and an environmental threat.
A world-wide problem
Another bane of globalisation, the e-waste disposal has implication globally. Since gadgets are bought and upgraded by people world-wide, this is not an issue of select countries. US, India, China, Japan, UK and many more countries are concerned about the issue and are taking steps to reduce e-waste.
RECYCLING is the only solution. Read on for some interesting stats (from various sources):
- A recycled phone can help save energy required to power a laptop for 40 hours. And a million phone can take care of the power needs of 150 households annually.
- If 100% of 130 million phones in the US were recycled, the energy saved can run a small city for about 12 months.
- You can recover 35,000 pounds of copper, 33 pounds of palladium, 772 pounds of silver and 75 pounds of gold from discarded phones every year.
Here are some stats before we leave. As per the iPhone Renewal Program, Apple accepts old phone and recovers materials from them. In 2015 this is what they recovered:
- 2,000 pounds of gold
- 6,000 pounds of silver
- 2.5 million pounds of copper material