• Almost every one of us has dealt with electronic waste at some point in their life. As such, one of your electronic or appliance has broken down or you have acquired a newer version and thus you no longer need the old version. Although you could choose to keep the original model, they finally become outdated and therefore can no longer be used. In most cases, the lack of regulatory mechanisms for the disposal of electronic waste, such waste end up being improperly dumped or burned. Other times, when it is recycled, it ends up being unsafe.
  • Electronic waste refers to the discarded electronic or electrical appliances and devices which have ceased to be of any value to their owners. While electronic waste can cause harm to the environment, it can also be a source of economic opportunities. Therefore, electronic waste recycling facilities must adhere to international safety, health, and environmental standards. The e-waste disposal companies must look for ways to manage the electronic waste disposal process efficiently.
  • Over the last ten years, the number of telephones, computers, appliances, and televisions being dumped have more than doubled annually. Electronic waste disposal includes storing, transporting, reusing, treating, recovering, recycling, and disposing of e-waste in a manner that is environmentally sound.
  • Each year, it is estimated that over 50 million tons of electronic waste are produced annually. However, only fifteen percent is disposed of properly as the rest goes to the black market or landfill. This is a disheartening state of affairs as such disposal methods are unsustainable.
  • While developing countries have domestic regulations that crack down on individuals improperly dumping electronic waste, there is a need to strengthen regulations in developing countries that allows the importation of e-waste from developed countries.
  • The Basel Convention Strategic Plan identified electronic waste as a priority waste that requires sound management at the time when advancement in technology is rendering most electronic devices obsolete within a short period of time.
  • According to researchers, efficient electronic waste management and disposal promotes the social, economic and environmental well-being of the society. Electronic waste must not be disposed of in a manner likely to endanger human beings.
  • Whereas most communities, the learning institutions, the informal sector, private consumers, and the corporate, do not have the capacity to dispose of electronic waste as it should, there are existing centers that proactively participates in e-waste management and disposal programs.
  • According to statistics, developed countries in Europe and North America produce the highest quantities of electronic wastes. In particular, the US is the largest producer of electronic waste followed by China. However, developing countries in Africa produces the lowest amount of e-waste.
  • One of the challenges associated with e-waste is that it often ends up in developing nations of the world mainly because of lack of regulations. Such countries as China have developed e-waste processing mechanisms with China processing 70% of the electronic waste annually. Countries in West Asia, Africa and India recycle non-toxic components of electronic appliances including steel, iron, copper and gold.
  • On the other hand, disposal plants tend to release volatile organic chemicals, toxic materials, and heavy metals which is harmful to human health and the environment.
  • When disposed of irresponsibly and improperly, it can lead to harmful effects on the environment. This is because electronic wastes contain harmful toxic heavy metals including lead and mercury. Other times, they contain corrosive chemicals. Therefore, electronic waste cannot be disposed of in normal trash bags since it can cause serious harm to animals, human beings and the environment.
  • The safest method to dispose of electronic waste is dropping them at designated e-waste drop off locations. Over the years, the government and private companies have designated e-waste collection points and days where you can drop your obsolete electronic items for proper disposal. In this case, the recycler takes domestic appliances, mobile phones or other electronic devices, dismantle them and separate the metal components from the glass. The metallic part is returned to the smelters for reuse while the glass part is crushed for recycling by glass manufacturers.
  • While some drop off centers tends to be free, individuals and corporates need to be careful when an e-waste collector offer to pay them for their waste. This is because it could mean that they could be taking advantage of your waste. It could indicate that they carry out their electronic waste disposal unethically or improperly. In most cases, certified electronic waste collectors do not offer free services since they understand that the process is associated with some costs.
  • Trusted electronic waste collectors must be regulated by various e-waste certification programs including E-Stewards Certification and RC: Responsible Recycling Certification. These certifications are offered by EPA guidelines and promote responsible electronics recycling. Every company conducting electronic waste disposal must develop a verifiable and appropriate and verifiable disposal procedure. It is also such firms that should receive e-waste management funds from manufacturers and the government.
  • When an e-waste recycler does not handle the waste properly, toxins may inevitably leak into oceans and other waterways. Eventually, it may end up being ingested by fish and other aquatic animals. When human beings eat the fish, mercury may end up getting into their body.
  • Employees working in electronic waste disposal facilities must be provided with goggles, dust masks, and heavy duty gloves with the aim of protecting them from injury. The employees in electronic waste disposal plants must also be properly trained and equipped on how to dismantle as we well as separate the electronic waste. In addition, they should be provided with a safe working environment at the management plant.
  • Local companies should use e-waste to promote local innovation such as recycling cathode ray tube computer monitors before converting them into affordable TV sets. This is a sustainable model for managing electronic waste. However, the local companies conducting electronic waste disposal and recycling must be certified to show that they meet the agreed technical, legal, and environmental criteria.
  • When you are looking to dispose of your electronic waste, always look for the most reputable vendors. They should not be people whose main objective is stripping e-waste their most valuable items before proceeding to dump the remains unethically and illegally.