One of the larger parts of research & development for consumer electronics is the real-world applications of their products, and reviews from users. This is why you frequently will find small issues or complaints for products after receiving them. When you look at beta-testing for these products, they may have a few people that work there test the ins and outs of a smart-watch. Or in a lucrative environment, they may have thousands. Then it goes out to the world, and millions of people are using it.
When regular folks get their smart-watch, they will use it in every way possible, and this is factored in the millions. So when the reviews by consumer come out, the company takes that into account and immediately begin developing their next smart-watch. They then capitalize on the complaints of users, and at the same time just up general features (battery life, display quality, etc.) This is why today we are asking the question, Why Should You Recycle Old Technology?
What is E-Waste & Where Does it Go?
E-Waste is fairly self-explanatory. All of your old cell phones, TVs, computers, keyboards, etc. are classified as E-Waste. These products frequently contain materials such as Nickel, Lead, Zinc, Barium and Chromium, the Lead is obviously of the highest concern. When these elements are held in a landfill, if they are not properly disposed of and contained, they will release these elements into the air. Or, they can seap into the soil, then into groundwater.
China, India, Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam are the recipients of a lot of old technology. In China, there is actually a city called Guiyu that houses one of the largest E-Waste landfills in the entire world. The citizens of this area are often subject to the harmful side-effects of chemicals being released into their environment. As a byproduct of these metals, they see an increase in neurological, digestive, and respiratory illnesses.
What Do These Countries Do With E-Waste
You may be surprised to find out these countries do it to extract precious metals, for scrap. Shops will open up that then pay people a meager wage to wade through the E-Waste dumps in search of electronics that contain scrap-ready metals. Guiyu specifically has many people move to the city in hopes of making a living by working for these shops. The promise of making a dollar a day is often enough to have an entire family move to the area. They figure a steady wage through scrapping is worth uprooting their lives and moving to a new city.
An obvious risk with this life change is that you are exposed to a very harmful environment. Families will often risk their health in order to make more money, regardless of the health-risks imposed on them. Greenpeace has made attempts to hold large consumer electronic companies accountable for the waste, but that seems like a stretch to me.
China receives around 70% of the world’s E-Waste and has come under fire for their methods of recycling these products. The Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs – und Forschungsanstalt from Switzerland states that the health issues are due to 60% of the labor-force being ill-equipped and under-trained. I believe the reason for this practice is most likely to cut costs and keep a higher profit margin.
What Can You Do?
There are quite a few places that you can go to safely dispose of these electronics to help with the E-Waste issue. If you just type into Google “where can i recycle electronics?” then you should receive a list of places near you that can help with the disposal of that TV. There are even some city’s that do a seasonal roundup of old technology, in order to help with this issue.
Recycle Your Electronics in A Different Way
- Give Them To Your Children, Or Other Young Relatives
One way to brighten up a kid’s day, is to give them a random gift. I remember when my dad would get a new computer, I would get his old one! This was always an awesome day.
A lot of people don’t worry about trade-ins for cell-phones or other pieces of technology. But, it’s just like a car. Take in your old phone next time you are upgrading and ask an employee about it. If they don’t want it as a trade-in, they may at least offer a recycling option.
Most city’s offer a sort of Donation system. I know that at ours, they take old electronics that cannot be used anymore to a scrapping plant that has containment methods for certain met
Finally, I just want to publicize this issue, and some simple methods you can practice at home to help out. You don’t have to go all the way to China and protest these shops. You can just help reduce the amount of waste that you are throwing in the bin.
Check out the Blog Feed for other posts that you’ll enjoy, or head back to the Homepage for other features! I am interested in hearing what you think is an option for reducing E-Waste issues. Also, what your opinion is on manufacturers being held accountable for waste. Thank You all for stopping by, and I hope you have a wonderful day!