Technology continues to grow and expand at a rate we could never have predicted a few decades ago. Almost every household around the world has at least a mobile phone, laptop, television, or technological device of some sort.

These products are not built to last forever and with the emerging problem of planned obsolescence in the technological scene, we are discarding our devices for new ones at a very fast rate.

Experts have found that on average a tablet or smartphone lasts for about 3-5 years, meaning we are cycling through devices every few years.

What most people don’t yet understand is that this is contributing to a growing environmental issue. Global pollution and waste have been a problem for decades now, and the introduction of e-waste is worsening the problem rather drastically.

The growing number of unused and unwanted devices is causing e-waste landfills to skyrocket with a predicted 57.4 million tonnes of discarded electronics recorded in 2021. The e-waste produced annually amounts to around $67 million worth of technology.

It is predicted that every person in modern and developing countries has produced around 6 kilograms of e-waste themselves.

The Harmful Effects of E-Waste:

For most people old devices end up in a cupboard or drawer, locked away for an eternity before eventually being thrown in the bin during spring cleaning.

What people don’t know is that throwing electronics in the bin, to be mixed with other rubbish and trash is harmful to the environment as they are often not handled correctly.

Electronic devices are made up of several components and materials, which if exposed to our environment, can cause serious damage. Battery acids, radioactive metals, and glass screens can contaminate water sources, harm animals and cause damage to soil and other earthly minerals.

This treatment of rare and useful materials is not sustainable for much longer.

What Should We Do with Our E-Waste?

Most electronic goods contain various useful and rare materials such as gold, silver, copper, and other metals. These types of materials are excellent in terms of their recyclability and as such, the aim with e-waste should be reusability leading to sustainability.

As e-waste continues to grow, and more people become aware of the problem, more solutions seem to be popping up as well. Look around in your area for a recycling facility and enquire about their handling of electronic devices.

There are many other ways to remain sustainable with your technology. Before buying a new device ask yourself if it is truly necessary and instead attempt to extend the life of the electronic devices you already own.

Once you finish using a device for work, video poker games or any other purpose, instead of instantly throwing it away, find out if any of your friends or family need it. You can also look at refurbishing old devices for future use.

The crux of the matter is that there are many ways in which we can all contribute to the combatting of e-waste.

Last modified: January 31, 2022