E-waste is the term for common electronic items including computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines that are no longer wanted, functional, or at the end of their “useful life.”

Unrecycled electronic waste can end up in landfills and cause a variety of environmental problems.

The hazardous materials in our technology eventually leak into the soil and water of our planet.

Besides that, the refrigerants used in temperature exchange equipment are greenhouse gases, while the chemicals released when e-waste is burned pollute the air.

E-waste Impacts On Climate Change

E-waste Environmental And Health Risks

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The chemicals emitted when e-waste is burned are a contributing factor to climate change.

The main toxins emitted when electronics are burned include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs).

In electronics, PBDEs are utilized as flame retardants, and when they burn, they release carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is harmful to humans and it’s one of the greenhouse gases that is causing climate change.

Besides that, over time, the toxic chemicals inside our electronic devices can seep into the earth’s soil and water. This can later result in water contamination. With millions of electronics ending up in landfills, contamination can possibly reach our drinking water sources as well.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that coming into contact with harmful substances that seep out of e-waste can put your health at danger. These include brominated flame retardants, polychlorinated biphenyls, and minerals like lead, cadmium, and chromium (PCBs). Inhaling the hazardous gases poses a risk, as does the buildup of toxins on the land, water, and food. Moreover, this endangers not only people but also land and sea wildlife.

How Much Electronic Waste Do We Produce Every Year?

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According to theroundup.org, 57.4 Mt (Million Metric Tonnes) of electronic waste was produced worldwide in 2021.

Since e-waste data collection began in 2014, there has been an increase annually. In fact, the amount is increasing by 2 Mt annually on average.

Aside from that, only 17.4% of electronic waste is known to be collected and properly recycled. Based on estimates, there will be over 347 Mt of unrecycled electronic waste left on the planet this year.

Moreover, China, the US, and India are the top 3 countries that are producing the most electronic waste. Estonia, Norway, and Iceland, on the other hand, have the highest e-waste recycling rates.

How Are Businesses and Individuals Contributing to E-waste?

The COVID-19 and the accompanying lockdowns greatly expanded the consumption and use of electronics and digital solutions. This is because more people are relying on gadgets for employment, education, and entertainment. This increased production as a result of the strong demand has had a negative outcome.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science estimates that one computer and one monitor require 500 pounds of fossil fuel, 50 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to produce.

Consider the expected depreciation of desktop computers, displays, and tablets. Every year, a newer, quicker version is released. And as a result, enterprises now generate a significant amount of e-waste that, in the past, many would have simply dumped in landfills or left to collect dust in abandoned storage facilities.

What Can We Do to Reduce Electronic Waste?

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Companies need to come up with innovative, sustainable ways to manage e-waste in the face of climate change. The most effective approach to achieve this is to use refurbished computers and other equipment to reduce the development of new products that depend on our limited natural resources.

On top of saving the environment, refurbished IT equipment also comes with financial benefits for individuals and businesses. Sunol Tech can help save you money by offering high-quality refurbished IT hardware at a very low price. Besides that, we can also help you get paid for your old IT equipment that you no longer use by selling it to us.

Moreover, you can also acquire our other IT Asset Disposition Services. We can help you with data center decommissioning or hardware shredding. This is to ensure that your old IT equipment is properly disposed of and secured to avoid data breaches.

If you’re interested in our products and services, just check out our shop or contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help you!