Disposing of E-waste Safely and Sustainably
Electronic devices contain many harmful chemicals, such as lead and cadmium, which can be very damaging for the environment when they are placed in landfills. These chemicals and cause soil and water contamination which not only harms the earth but also poses a health risk during food production.
Since most households are filled with electrical equipment nowadays, and people replace their phones every couple of years, in the UK there is approximately 31 million tonnes of e-waste produced each year. Most of these gadgets are just thrown away in landfills, where it will remain for a very long time.
On average, glass components in electrical equipment can take a couple of million years to decompose and any plastic can take up to 1 million years. Therefore, it is more important than ever to reduce, reuse and recycle when it comes to your mobile phones or even your toasters.
You can use these 5 handy tips to help improve your carbon footprint and move one step closer to helping the planet when it comes to e-waste:
Reduce – take more time to evaluate whether you really need to buy more electrical appliances and wait until they have completely stopped working before replacing them, rather than just buying each new iPhone model as it comes out.
Reuse – take more care in looking after your gadgets and helping them last longer by investing in screen protectors, cases or insurance to make sure that you are maximising the product’s life.
Recycle – visit local waste centres or contact your local recycling centre to find out more about how to recycle your old electrical products safely rather than just put them into a regular recycling bin.
Upcycle – consider replacing the battery in your gadget, or getting it fixed professionally, rather than buying a new one altogether. This is often cheaper than buying a new product, but it will still work just as well.
Sell/donate – if you do decide to replace a working electronic; sell it online, give it away to a friend or even donate it to a local charity to give the product a second life. Similarly, you can decide to buy a new phone or other electronic second hand as it is cheaper and often a very similar quality.