Importance Of Recycling Electronic Waste Essay
Should We “Recycle” Our Electronic Waste?
Where did the electronic waste go?
When we throw out our old equipment, old TVs and computers end up in landfills, there are various toxic metals can cause various environmental problems. Yet even recycling the electronic waste, it might not be good to our environment. Have you even thought of how the United States shipping their electronic waste to some developing countries and the problems it may cause? As the United States passed the laws to recycle the electronic wastes, the companies can ship the electronic waste to the so-called recyclers in other countries legally. Recyclers, however, can be the intermediaries only since they can gain a huge profit from just exporting the electronic waste to other countries. Every year, around 80 to 85 percent of electronic products were discarded in landfills, which include some metals that release certain toxics into the air. Even the electronic wastes consistently bring damage to the environment, people in those developing countries, like China and India, still take this risk since they can make profit by separating the metal parts from the waste. Therefore, it is not an ethical choice to throw our electronic waste.
Are we really recycling the electronic waste?
Although the US passed the law to recycle their E-wastes, it has caused many problems to other countries. Instead of recycling the wastes, the recyclers are actually refurbishing the waste. Instead of solving the problem in an environmentally friendly way, “recyclers” have found that that they can make a lot more money just exporting those electronic waste since they are able to externalize their costs. Therefore, tons of electronic wastes are shipped to those developing countries where people have to remove the usable metals by hand.
Only little part of E-waste is currently recycled. Instead of just dumping our electronic waste away, the term reuse is more environmentally sound by extending their lives for several years. As a result, refurbishing is what a recycler does indeed. If the electronic waste can not be refurbished, reputable recyclers will use mechanical shredding and a high-tech separation device to take out the usable metals, which can then be sent to a smelter and gain some profit.
Many electronic products are not designed for long-term usage. They usually become obsolete in a short period of time. Moreover, they are expensive to repair since the parts are packed together. Consumer-grade electronics products are cheaper to replace than to fix since those parts are designed by using many harmful compounds, the process to recycle these products involves toxic material streams, which contains certain risks. Some of the toxic materials from the metals must be removed before recycle. Therefore, most of the wastes are dumped instead of recycling.
As you can see the increasing trend from the graph below, although the percentage of recycled e-waste keeps on increasing...
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