Electronic waste is not simply something you read about in eco newspapers or hear your hippie friends talk about. It is something that is happening right now, and you could even be creating it as you are reading these lines. People do it all the time and sometimes they do not even realise it. It should be mitigated as it does have an effect on the environment and leaves a carbon footprint nobody wants around. Instead of using electronics for waste recycling or at least doing proper junk disposal and having professionals deal with it, they most often opt to throw it away, resulting in a bad, bad case of pollution. And you do not even know just how bad. Here are some mind-blowing facts about e-waste to consider:
#1 – The UN states that every year there are between 20 and 50 million metric tons of e-waste thrown for waste disposal. Think about that. And keep in mind that this is only the reported e-waste, no less. This is a staggering number.
#2 – It is reported that only about 13% of e-waste in the world is recycled. And further reported that only 30% of that waste is handled with the best practices of waste recycling. That means that less than 3% of e-waste in the world is actually reused. Where does the rest of it go? In the landfill, of course – and that is where one of the major carbon footprints comes from.
#3 – There are more mobile phones in the world right now than there are living people. The rate of just the used mobile phones on the planet is over 7 billion, while there are less than 7 billion people on Earth. And if this was not crazy enough for you, there are about 350,000 mobile phones discarded on a daily basis. That makes for over 150 million phones going for waste disposal a year. How does that sound for perspective fodder?
#4 – There is too much junk disposal of gold, silver and platinum items. It is calculated that if the recycling of all of those increases to up to 100% (currently, all recycling rates are below 15%), then the electronics sector will earn over $10 billion dollars in natural capital and financial benefits. Needless to say, this is a huge hypothetical, bordering the impossibility, but still – makes you think, right?
#5 – If that didn’t sound bad enough, the UN University has been doing some surveys and it is estimated that with the digitalisation of practically everything and most of the companies and homes going electronic, global e-waste may increase up to 30% till 2017.
#6 – On a more positive note, many major retailers are aware of these numbers and they do proper waste recycling. Many such retailers will take your e-waste, regardless of whether you purchased the item you are discarding from that store or somewhere else. Somebody is giving a helping hand to nature, thankfully.
How do those numbers and facts sound to you? E-waste has been a problem for quite a while now and it is only growing. This is the time when recycling has to step up and more people should focus on doing recycling and picking green clearance companies when calling help for their house clearance. Almost every third item you throw away is electronic and its only function after leaving your possession is to damage the state of the environment. Do your part as a member of this ecological system and try to lower the amounts of e-waste you create as much as you can. You may only be a drop in a sea of waste, but doing something is always better than idly standing by, doing nothing to help or change things. There is a lot you can do – simply look for it.