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How to Stop E-Waste

Updated on April 21, 2013
E-Waste is a problem that is growing.
E-Waste is a problem that is growing. | Source

E-Waste, or electronic waste, is a growing problem in the world today. Haven't heard about it? Not a lot of people have. Electronic waste is discarded electronics such as phones, computers, and televisions. Most recycling centers who claim to dispose of e-waste properly, don't. In actuality, they send them to China and third world countries for them to dispose of. Every year, 50 million tons of e-waste are produced. How can you stop e-waste? Read on to find out more!

What Happens to Our Electronics?

When we bring our electronics that we don't want anymore to the recycling center, sometimes what the employees tell you about them disposing of electronics properly is a lie. Actually, most electronics get sent out of the country to China or poverty countries. When they get to the other countries, people go through and weed out the working computers with the broken computers. The working computers get re-sold and the broken computers get sent to a junkyard of sorts.

These areas where the broken computers are sent are full of old computers. Children and adults alike then take these computers and burn them. They melt down the computers and chips until the only thing left is scrap metal that can be sold for money. This is how most people get their money and income.

Recycling your e-waste properly can ensure e-waste doesn't get sent to third world countries.
Recycling your e-waste properly can ensure e-waste doesn't get sent to third world countries. | Source

The Dangers of E-Waste

So what's the big deal about e-waste anyway? When anything is melted, fumes are released. Electronics contain contaminates like lead, cadmium, BFRs (brominated flame retardants), and beryllium. When they are melted, the workers who are collecting the scrap metal are breathing in these fumes. They are slowly killing themselves.

Not only are they working in a death trap, they are polluting the ground, air, and rivers with the toxins released from burning e-waste.

It can also be a danger to you. Ever wipe your hard drive and then recycle it? Even if you think you've wiped your hard drive, it may still have information on it. While workers go through parts that they've recieved to be recycled, they put aside the hard drives and re-sell them. Once they have your old hard drive, they can access all the files you had. The best way to ensure that doesn't happen is to smash your hard drive.

E-Waste in Ghana

How to Stop E-Waste

If you want to stop e-waste, there are many things you can do. Some are easy and you can start doing now.

  • Don't upgrade your electronics right away. Let your phone die before you upgrade to the new iPhone.
  • If you are going to recycle your electronics, make sure they are recycled in a way that won't add to the e-waste.
  • Spread awareness. Share this article and tell your friends! You alone may not be able to make a difference, but the more people that do know, the bigger impact you'll have.
  • Write to your government to express your concern about e-waste. See what they are doing to stop the dumping of electronics in other countries.

Did you know about e-waste before reading this article?

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Being informed about e-waste is a great first step to reducing the amount of e-waste there is in the world. This problem needs to stop and the world can't do it without you. The important thing to do to help stop e-waste is to stay informed and help inform others. The more people who are aware that this is happening the better the chance the e-waste polluting will stop.


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    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Great hub! Like Erica, I've never thought about this either. Thank you for this very important information. How would we know where it is safe to recycle our electronics?

    • SaffronBlossom profile image

      SaffronBlossom 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I hadn't ever thought about this, but it makes a lot of sense! Thanks for drawing attention to what is a problem not many of us realize.

    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 5 years ago

      Great Article! Voted Up! Useful +1

      E Waste is a critical subject in our modern world and it is important to educate as many people as possible.