Most residents of the UK would probably agree that the e-waste problem in landfill sites is a problem that is not disappearing. Every device is a prime suspect, but the problem is mostly with smartphones and other slim devices.
Because they are slim, they are harder to disassemble, and therefore more difficult to recycle. Many recycling centres will not take them because the cost to disassemble them for recycling exceeds the value of the trace amounts of recyclable materials inside. Millions of these devices are simply discarded into the bin. Their destination: landfill.
Many of these devices are now degrading in these “e-heaps” but it is unknown as yet how to recycle them. At the same time, efforts are being made to prevent the problem from getting worse, which is why we are encouraged to recycle these devices.
Are there any environmental benefits from recycling e-waste?
10 Environmental Benefits of Recycling E-waste
- Make landfills smaller – Since the size of landfill sites is the strongest evidence that a problem exists, shrinking the size of these sites would be a strong and almost immediate benefit. As the population grows, so does overall waste, so room must be made for it if it has not been determined how to recycle it.
- Conserve resources – Precious metals and plastic are just two of the recyclable materials that most often sit in the landfills. If recycled, they can become secondary raw materials, bringing a number of side benefits as well.
- Helps prevent global warming – E-waste is one example of the harmful materials that if allowed to sit in landfills long enough, degradation sends carbon into the air. Recycling solid waste would prevent this.
- Increase in jobs – The size of the problem is large enough to create enough work for many people for a good while. With all of this manpower working directly on the problem, it seems reasonable that the severity of the problem should lessen.
- Earn Money – Recycling does not necessarily have to be done for free. A company from Canada has had success in developing countries setting up recycling centers that reward individuals with a token when they recycle an item. The token has a value that can be used to purchase food some other item.
- Preserve resources through reuse – It takes more energy and resources to manufacture products from scratch than to recycle material for reuse. This idea is being pushed in the electronics industry. Manufacturers can save money on the cost of energy and resources, making it less expensive to create new products.
- Save energy – It takes less energy to recycle material than to create new material from scratch. If we were to recycle one million laptops, we could light 3,600 homes or more for a year.
- Inspired innovation – Advances in recycling also prompt advances in manufacturing, so that better products can be made without threatening the environment.
- Potential for uniting communities – When more and more people are part of an important cause, they all have a common purpose, which usually contributes to a healthy measure of unity.
- Preserves biodiversity – Entire ecosystems could be at stake if harmful substances such as mercury or lead leak out from the discarded devices and into the land, water and air.
With substantial benefits such as listed here, one can only conclude that while the effort to recycle e-waste is not a simple one, and isn’t something that will happen overnight – it is an endeavor that is well worth it.
This sponsored guest post was written by Plunc.
Plunc is one of the UK’s most trusted online recyclers for high end gadgets. Visit them here to sell your phones and tablets.