Perpetual advances in technology, low initial cost, and planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast-growing surplus of electronic waste around the globe. When we frequently update our electronics, thousands of tonnes of E-Waste is created from retired washers and dryers, obsolete computers, broken monitors, used toner and ink cartridges, expired batteries and outdated mobile phones. But where do these old appliances end up? Dangers
Computers harbour a number of toxic chemicals that can be hazardous if dumped in landfill. For example, PC monitors can carry Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT) that contain about 20 per cent lead.
The same CRT’s are also found in old style televisions, and with the advent of high definition television, a surplus of unwanted old style TV’s is likely to mount up.
Printer inks and toners often contain toxic materials such as carbon black and cadmium. When disposed of improperly, the toxins can escape from the landfill, seep into groundwater, contaminate the soil and enter the food chain.
How can I reduce E-Waste?
Reuse: Ink cartridges can be refilled and alkaline batteries can be recharged rather than thrown away.
Recycle: Most councils provide e-waste recycling services for large electronics.
Donation: Old electronics can be donated to a variety of schools or charities for reuse.
Takeback: Some electronic manufacturers and corporations offer low-cost or no-cost takeback and recycling programs. Such programs offer services to take back and recycle electronics, including mobile phones, laptop and desktop computers, digital cameras, and home and auto electronics at the store where the item was purchased.