Home News Attention Business Owners! Here’s Why You Can’t Ignore Your E-Waste

Attention Business Owners! Here’s Why You Can’t Ignore Your E-Waste

Attention Business Owners! Here’s Why You Can’t Ignore Your E-Waste

The last two decades saw technology advancing exponentially with every passing year. The world has continuously been introduced to new and better electronics that overtake and replace their older counterparts. To that end, we’re left with outdated electronics on our hands that are no longer in use. 

On top of that, electronic appliances and devices also have a limited life, after which they either stop working or become inefficient. So, what happens to the ever-growing mound of electronics that are no longer in use? 

These electronics have become the world’s collective e-waste, and we can no longer ignore the damage this causes. The challenge to dispose of unwanted or used is not new; in fact, the challenge to dispose of electronic items dates back to the 1970s. That being said, it was never as big a challenge earlier as it is now because now the pool of discarded electronics has grown significantly—and even that is an understatement!

While it may not be a major concern for individuals, e-waste is definitely a cause of concern for businesses that regularly dispose of computers, printers, fax machines, and other electronics. Suffice it to say businesses cannot afford to be careless about their e-waste as it can have serious repercussions. 

Keep reading to learn all about e-waste, its various hazards, and what can be done about it. 

What is E-Waste?

E-waste includes all electronic items that are unwanted, not in working condition, or simply nearing the end of their life. Televisions, computers, cellphones, stereos, fax machines, copiers, VCRs, DVDs, fax machines, and other similar items are all electronic products that result in e-waste. 

Sometimes, e-waste that’s working but is unwanted can be donated or sold to a reseller. Think of all the VCRs replaced by DVDs despite working perfectly fine. Now with digital streaming services, DVDs are also becoming obsolete, and the cycle goes on. 

But what happens to the items that nobody wants? 

These items are typically thrown away and may end up in landfills. However, this solution is far from perfect. The truth is electronic items in landfills can be incredibly toxic to the environment as they can leak dangerous chemicals from the metals used to make them. 

From microwaves to circuit boards, countless electronic items are thrown away without proper precaution every day. This not only contributes to the excessive waste that’s piling up in the world, but it’s also especially harmful to the surroundings. In fact, e-waste makes up only 2% of the total waste in the US, but it accounts for 70% of the total toxic waste.

These staggering numbers are nothing, if not alarming. Let’s take a deeper look and get a full picture of the harm that e-waste can cause. 

Harmful Effects of E-Waste 

There’s no denying that e-waste is up there, with radioactive and chemical waste on the list of the most hazardous wastes in the world. So much so that the harmful effects of e-waste remain even after the waste is incinerated. Here are some of the major ways in which e-waste affects the environment. 

It Permeates the Landfill 

Electronic items are safe to be around and use while they’re above ground, but they can be incredibly toxic once they get buried in a landfill. 

This is because most electronics typically contain plenty of toxic materials such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and beryllium. All of these get dissolved in the sludge on the landfill and end up in the ground below the landfill in trace amounts. This process is called permeation and leaching, and it can greatly toxify the environment. 

Simply put, as more e-waste and toxic metals end up in landfills, toxic trace materials also rise. 

Leaching Toxifies Surrounding Water Bodies

The toxic trace material is not restricted to the landfill alone. It quickly trickles into the groundwater in the landfill. This groundwater follows its natural flow and moves towards the nearest sources of water. It then proceeds to poison this water as well. 

Anyone who drinks this water stands at the risk of getting seriously harmed. On top of it, the wildlife living in these water bodies also gets sick. They stand at a higher risk of getting heavy metal poisonings from the high levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury. This is also why eating some types of fish can also result in mercury poisoning. Of course, this poisoning is also a result of continuous mining efforts to discover new sources of metals. 

This is why it’s all the more important to develop recyclable metal sources that can act as an alternative to the dug-up metal ore. 

So, how can we become more conscious about what we do with our e-waste? Keep reading to find out. 

How to Appropriately Deal with E-Waste

While e-waste is an ever-growing phenomenon that poses its own set of risks, it’s not impossible to deal with. Thankfully, there are many things that individuals and businesses can do to handle their e-waste in an environmentally conscious and responsible manner. Here are some ways that have proven well in preventing e-waste and doing effective electronic disposal.

Donate or Sell Your Electronics

The best way to keep your e-waste to a bare minimum is to sell or donate all your working electronics so that their life increases and they don’t end up in landfills. This way, someone else will find a use for the electronics that are no longer useful for you, and fewer electronic items will end up in waste. 

Hold Off on Upgrades 

It may be tempting to quickly upgrade to the latest technology and ditch your somewhat outdated electronics, but this is neither pocket-friendly nor environment-friendly. To that end, the smart thing to do is to hold off on your upgrades for as long as possible and give your electronics a longer life. 

Use Dedicated E-Waste Recycling Service 

There are waste management services that have the expertise to deal with electronics and know how to safely dispose of them. When you’re getting rid of your electronics, you should be on the lookout for waste disposal services that offer special disposal of electronics. These companies recycle all the potentially recyclable parts of your electronic items and safely incinerate the rest of it, so it doesn’t end up in the landfill. 

If you’re looking for a commercial waste recycling service that provides electronic disposal, Facilities USA is your best option. The waste disposal and recycling company are well-versed with all the latest practices and trends in safely disposing electronic items. They’re currently providing their services across the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 

Reach out to their team now for more information about their services. 

About the Author

The author is an environmental specialist that frequently writes about environmentally sustainable practices that businesses should follow. He also lends his expertise to Facilities USA, a commercial waste recycling service in the US, to help them follow sustainable waste management processes. 


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