How to dispose of e-waste
Electronic waste (or e-waste) refers to discarded electronic devices. As technology becomes more and more integrated into all aspects of our lives, more and more devices are being created and, therefore, disposed of.
China was the main receiver of such waste (over 70% of the world’s e-waste would be moved to China) up to a couple of years ago, when they banned 24 different kinds of waste. Main waste exporters (USA, Australia, UK and other European countries) then turned to other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand. These countries are overwhelmed too and adding restrictions to their waste import regulations. Meanwhile, companies make products with a shooter lifespan to become more and more profitable.
Today, we celebrate International E-waste Day in order to create awareness around this issue. 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated in 2019, up 21% in just five years, according to the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020. It is estimated that by 2030 this number will reach 74 Mt. Only 17.4% of 2019’s e-waste was collected and recycled.
This is a problem that requires multiple solutions. First of all, manufacturers should be held accountable for designing better, longer life, environmentally friendly products. A better repair system should be in place. Finally, consumer responsibility.
What can you do to avoid and reduce your e-waste?
First of all, be aware of your footprint. Look at your consumption levels, do you buy a new phone every year?
Extend the life of your electronics if and when possible, try to repair them instead of buying new ones. Before discarding them, try to find other solutions; can someone reuse them? Maybe donate the old ones to schools, social programs etc.
Look for recycling options around you, there will be somewhere where you can take your old laptop, throw batteries etc.