Electronic waste (e-waste) is one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world. However, according to the United Nations, only 20 percent of global e-waste is recycled each year. If that number startles you, it should. The International Solid Waste Association believes that there needs to be a much stronger focus on e-waste, and out worldwide neglect has become a major concern.
Generators of e-waste have an increased responsibility to dispose of their waste responsibly. Effectively disposing of this waste stream helps the economy by reducing the cost of producing new products, aside from the obvious – not sending this waste streams to already over-filled, landfills. Also, the parts within each device that is recycled, are salvageable, and can be reused in the manufacturing process. This cost savings can often be passed on to consumers.
E-waste refers to any electrical and electronic equipment that has been discarded by its owner as waste, without the intent to reuse it. The term covers a very wide range of products. It can include:
- households with circuitry or electrical components for delivering power;
- Business products that do the same;
- Temperature exchange equipment for cooling and freezing, like refrigerators, air conditioners and heat pumps;
- Screens or monitors;
- Large equipment like washing machines, clothes dryers, dish-washing machines, electric stoves, large printing machines, etc.
- Smaller equipment like microwaves, ventilation equipment, video cameras, electronic tools, etc.
- Small IT and telecommunication equipment like mobile phones, pocket calculators, printers, etc.
For many of these products, there’s an increasingly short replacement cycle as technological advances keep updating each device on a regular basis, offering consumers a new and improved model. And it’s not just smartphones that consumers replace frequently. Upgrades can include higher speeds and newer technologies, so older equipment gets replaced even if it’s not broken or obsolete. What it becomes, in the minds of the consumers, is outdated – too slow, or without the latest features.
In many countries, people own multiple devices. That means they also have multiple devices to discard.
The Future of E-Waste
Many forecasters predict that there will be up to 52.2 million metric tons of obsolete electronics by 2021, which would make e-waste the fastest growing part of the world’s continuous steam of discarded household items. The annual growth rate of e-waste is expected to be between 3-4 percent.
The concerns about the rising amount of discarded equipment are not just economic. There are also serious environmental concerns, and even serious fears, about the health risk of devices that contain toxic substances like lead and mercury not being treated adequately.
Allowing e-waste to pile up in landfills significantly increases these risks, when they can be lowered by having e-waste treated through appropriate recycling methods. This trend also shows how valuable resources are being wasted on a very large scale.
Gemini Disposal Services can help you with your E-Waste. If you are a large or small generator of this type of waste stream, our company can dispose of this stream efficiently, responsibly, and cost effectively. Request a quote and we will help you properly dispose your E-Waste.