Is your iPad kaput? Has your toaster given up the ghost? Is your laptop so old it doesn’t even recognise Windows 10? If you’ve answered yes, it sounds like it’s time to consider a new or upgraded electronic device. However, this suggestion might leave you wondering what to do with your old one? Well, as with most things today the best thing to do is, recycle ‘em!
Electronic recycling is the recycling of personal, home or office equipment and electronics or e-waste. E-waste refers to any piece of equipment that runs on electricity. However, thanks to the age we are living in, where new model devices come into the market every few months, the dumping of e-waste is becoming a huge environmental concern.
Optimistically though, recycling your electronic waste is a lot easier than you think, and it’s incredibly important for the environment too. Here are a few suggestions for the do’s and don’ts of e-waste recycling:
E-waste Contaminates Landfill
If you throw away your microwave oven, cellphone, or old batteries with the rubbish, you run the risk of sending this equipment onto our already bursting landfills. E-waste leaches out highly toxic metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury into the landfills, which in turns affects the soil and groundwater – ultimately leading back to our homes and taps too. A scary statistic is that just one typical computer monitor can contain more than 6% lead!
In India and China for example, some companies are taking on e-waste and disposing of it incorrectly, usually in the form of burning them. This is leading to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and higher toxicity levels in these already environmentally-struggling areas.
E-waste Association of South Africa
eWasa or the e-Waste Association of South Africa was established in 2008 in order to create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly e-waste management system in the country. They have grown significantly over the years and have created a network of electronic manufacturers and recyclers alike. In order to make recycling easy for the man-at-home as well as for businesses across South Africa, eWasa have set up affiliate Recycle Centres across the country where you can drop your e-waste off at. To find your nearest Recycle Centre go to www.ewasa.org
If your electronics are still in working order, albeit slightly old, why not consider donating them to an underprivileged school, NGO, or church group in your area?
Find a Reputable Recycler
Many companies began in order to deal with the demand e-waste was creating. An example being, Effortless Recycling (www.erecycling.co.za), which take your old computer equipment off your hands and recycle it. Most reputable manufacturers will have a dedicated department to deal with the recycling of older pieces of equipment as well. Find out more by asking your manufacturer about their e-waste policy.
Whichever recycling option you choose – whether it be through a recycling company, manufacturer, or recycle centre, make sure your choice is an honest and environmentally-friendly one. And most importantly, make sure you do it – the future of our planet is at stake!
Date Published: 19 July 2017
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