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E-Waste: Implications and Controlling Measures

By Guest Blogger Erich Lawson

The disposal techniques of electronic waste followed across the globe is more hazardous than its generation. There are countries who do not know the difference between hazardous and non-hazardous waste material, while almost all electronic waste is hazardous in nature.

The generation of e-waste has been huge in the past couple of years. Two million tons of e-waste has been generated by the United States alone in the year 2010. Every year, over 1,120,000 laptops and desktop computers are discarded, which amounts to around 41 million of e-waste. This is not only alarming, but also puzzling as different IT companies do not consider the reuse of old computers and laptops. The lifecycle of a laptop or computer can be easily increased if the companies make an effort to change and maintain them in a proper manner.

One of the biggest reasons for companies changing electronic equipment each year is the encouragement and pressure imposed by various IT vendors. Along with this, it is a common notion among many people that anything that is old and refurbished is never going to be worth using again. Therefore, ultimately these things land up in different landfills.

Even though different regulations and legislations are in place, the illegal transportation of e-waste from different countries is still taking place. This accumulated e-waste lands in different dumping grounds like Accra (Ghana), Bangalore (India), Lagos (Nigeria), New Delhi (India), Guiyu (China), and Karachi (Pakistan). It has actually become a lethal occupation in these countries as workers handling e-waste in downright unsafe conditions have started showing symptoms of e-waste poisoning. Even the surrounding areas and the soil have shown high levels of contamination.


Ways of Controlling E-waste Generation

There are many ways of controlling e-waste. Some of these methods are:

  • Donate or sell electronics: As mentioned earlier, electronics can easily be reused or you can also sell or donate them. There are people who have never seen the face of a computer. Therefore, rather than filling up the landfills and dumping grounds, it’s a good idea to donate these items. You can also look for vendors who buy old electronic items. Contacting them to dispose your old gadgets is a better idea than throwing these items in the trash.
  • Recycle: Unused batteries, television sets, refrigerator parts, and air conditioning units should never be thrown in the trash. Instead, they need to be discarded in bins that are labeled as e-waste recycling bins. These bins are taken to different recycling centers straightaway, which separate and segregate these waste materials to recycle them in a proper manner. This is one of the best ways of dealing with e-waste.
  • Green electronics: You can easily search for different types of green electronics manufacturers in the market. These items are generally made under different norms and regulations about climate change, chemical usage, and recycling as per Greenpeace International. When you go to buy different types of electronic items, it is imperative to look for the energy star rating. Higher the star rating, lower the consumption of power would be.
  • Reuse: Look for ways to reuse your existing electronic appliance rather than throwing them away. In fact, discarded electronic items that either reach the recycling center or a landfill are generally repaired and reused. Large items like televisions, home theatres, refrigerators, and air conditioners can be repaired so that they can be reused again. You can also give such items to others who’d use them.
  • Evaluate your needs: Before purchasing a new electronic item, analyze whether you really need it. Is your life going to get any better than what it is right now with the gadget that you are about to buy? If not, then wouldn’t it be better not to buy it? Also, look for a gadget that can be used for multiple purposes.


E-waste is a major cause of concern in the world currently, not only for countries that generate it, but also for those that have become the dumping grounds. Looking for ways to process it properly and adopting such methods is critical for the world’s environment.


About the Author

Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern equipments such as balers, compactors and shredders can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting http://www.norcalcompactors.net.


About Kevin


Kevin is both an environmentalist and a tech guy and has been writing, editing and publishing this blog since 2007. He answers questions related to how you can use tech to go greener.

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