E - Waste

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a term for electronic products that have become unwanted, non-working or obsolete, and have essentially reached the end of their useful life. Because technology advances at such a high rate, many electronic devices become “trash” after a few short years of use. Electronic waste, also called e-waste, various forms of electric and electronic equipment that have ceased to be of value to their users or no longer satisfy their original purpose. Electronic waste (e-waste) products have exhausted their utility value through either  redundancy, replacement, or breakage and include both “white goods” such as refrigerators, washing machines, and microwaves and “brown goods” such as televisions, radios, computers, and cell phones. Given that the information and technology revolution has exponentially increased the use of new electronic equipment, it has also produced growing volumes of obsolete products; e-waste is one of the fastest-growing waste streams. Although e-waste contains complex combinations of highly toxic substances that pose a danger to health and the environment, many of the products also contain recoverable precious materials, making it a different kind of waste compared with traditional municipal waste.

E-Waste Management:

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is becoming major thread to the whole world. Its toxic emissions mixed with virgin soil and air and causing harmful effects to the entire biota either directly or indirectly. Direct impacts include release of acids, toxic compounds including heavy metals, carcinogenic chemicals and indirect effects such as bio magnification of heavy metals. Many private firms are involved in collecting, dismantling, separation and exporting e-wastes for recyclers. However, strict regulations are currently being followed as on approval of such firms such as e-steward certification by Basel action network in US, they also involved in public awareness programs; this review is based on collected information from various journal articles, websites including the technical note by Greenpeace international. Further, it analyzes the current progress on e-waste management worldwide.

E-waste Recycling / Electronic Recycling:

E-waste refers to electronic waste. E-waste recycling is the reuse and reprocessing of electrical and electronic equipment of any type that has been discarded or regarded as obsolete. Some of the common E-wastes include: home appliances such as televisions, air conditioners, electric cookers and heaters, air condoners, fans, DVDs, Radios and microwaves among others; information technology equipments such as computers, mobile phones, laptops, batteries, circuit boards, hard disks, and monitors among others; and other electronic utilities such as leisure, lighting, and sporting equipments. Recycling of e-waste is a growing trend and was initiated to protect human and environmental health mainly due to the widespread environmental pollution impacts of e-waste. E-cycling is reusing, or the distribution for reuse, of pieces of electronic equipment and their components at the end of their life cycle. General recycling is a practice that is of great global importance for a huge number of reasons but the importance of Electronic Recycling (E-Cycling) may have them all beat.

Effect Of E-Waste on Humans and Environment:
Let’s check out some of the most common elements found in computers, monitors and TVs etc. and how they affect human life. The solder present on the motherboard of computers and TV contain high levels of lead. Even the glass panels of computer monitors and of course, the lead batteries contaminate air, water, and soil. In addition, they distort the process of brain development, while posing danger to central nervous system and kidneys. This (lead poisoning) is among the most dangerous hazards of e-waste. Other than lead, motherboards also have high levels of Mercury. Improper disposal may create skin and respiratory disorders. Mercury poisoning also causes acute brain damages. The cables and PVC panels as well as glass, when reacts with moisture and oxygen, creates hazardous soil that may not be suitable for even building a home as the people breathing that air will suffer from reproduction and proper development of body parts, including the brain. It also spoils the immune system. Stress, anxiety, and other mental problems can arise out of breathing air polluted with glass, PVC and other forms of plastic remains found in electronic items. The motherboard circuits can cause lung cancer when you breathe air polluted by the fumes released when the motherboard elements react and create Beryllium. It is also responsible for skin diseases, including warts and certain forms of dangerous allergies.

Simple Solutions to a Big Problem:

One solution to this growing global problem is ensuring that your e-waste is recycled properly. Companies such as uSell and Recellular offer cash in exchange for old cell phones. Doug Fernstein, CEO of uSell says the idea was hatched when he realized what a cumbersome process selling old electronics on eBay was. "More current electronics can be refurbished and used to meet consumer demands to buy technology at a discount. Older technology can be stripped of its valuable precious metals, including copper, silver, gold, platinum and other rare minerals." You simply send uSell your old cell phones, and if they are in working order and able to be refurbished, then you receive a check. Phones that are not in working order are disassembled and stripped for their valuable and precious materials. Another option is to maintain your electronic devices and only upgrade when necessary. You can also put pressure on major electronics companies to eliminate the worst toxic chemicals from their products and improve their recycling programs by writing letters to the companies and demanding greater responsibility. Since e-waste is so detrimental to the environment what do we do with it? From E-Cycling itself to the E-Cycling Leadership Initiative, steps are being taken to work on this ever-growing form of waste.


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