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What Is E-waste and What Are the Dangers?

By Cristiana , in General , at April 24, 2023

Every year, there is almost 50 million tons of e-waste created. That’s the equivalent of about 1,000 laptops getting thrown out per second.

Sadly, it seems like these numbers are only going to increase as time goes on. As more and more electronics get sold each year, the total amount of electronic waste created on an annual basis is expected to go up.

So, what is e-waste? Why is it so dangerous? And what can you do to keep the amount of e-waste that you’re producing every year on the lower end of the spectrum?

We’re going to set out to answer these questions today in the hopes of helping people to bring their e-waste numbers down. Discover everything you need to know about e-waste below.

What Is E-Waste?

Before we get into talking about why e-waste can be so dangerous, it’s important for you to know the answer to the question, “What is e-waste?” You need to have a good understanding of what e-waste entails so that you’re able to know it when you spot it.

Generally speaking, e-waste refers to any waste that has an electronic component to it. Some good examples of e-waste are:

  • Computers
  • Cell phones
  • TVs
  • Refrigerators
  • Air conditioners
  • Cameras
  • Microwaves

Even something as simple as a lamp could technically be considered e-waste. As you might imagine, it can be tricky trying to discard much of this e-waste because of the batteries and other electronic equipment tucked inside it.

What Are the Dangers of E-Waste?

At first glance, e-waste might look just like any other waste you would find in the average landfill. But the reality is that most e-waste contains toxic chemicals that can be very dangerous both to people and animals and to the planet as a whole.

What kinds of toxic chemicals are we talking about? Well, it isn’t uncommon at all to find e-waste filled with things like:

  • Lead
  • Cadmium
  • Arsenic
  • Mercury
  • PCB
  • Chromium
  • DDT
  • Vinyl chloride
  • And more

Even though most e-waste only has trace amounts of these toxic chemicals in it, that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. If people, in particular, get exposed to these toxic chemicals, it can lead to some serious health conditions.

Some of the health conditions that can be directly blamed on e-waste are:

  • Damaged lungs
  • Failing livers and kidneys
  • Distorted blood composition
  • Central and peripheral nervous system problems
  • Birth defects

There are even some instances in which e-waste can lead to people dying when they’re exposed to too much of it.

What Should Be Done About E-Waste?

The problem with e-waste is that a lot of people simply don’t know what they’re supposed to do with it when they want to throw it out. As a result, many of them will discard e-waste with their regular trash, and that is absolutely not what needs to be done with e-waste.

E-waste recycling is of the utmost importance. It’s imperative that individuals and companies alike make it their mission to go through the process of recycling electronics in the right ways.

In some cases, that will mean taking electronics to special drop-off points to ensure they’re recycled properly. In other instances, it will mean using equipment like this battery shredder to break down the batteries from devices so that they can be discarded accordingly.

What Can You Do to Produce Less E-Waste?

The e-waste issue in this world has turned into such a big problem that it might not feel like you can make a difference when it comes to you playing a part in helping solve it. But there are some things you can do to cut down on how much e-waste you’re producing each year.

For starters, you can scale back on how many electronics you’re buying every year. You should try to get more out of the electronics you already have as opposed to constantly upgrading them to newer models that are only marginally better than their predecessors.

You can also consider hanging onto more of the electronics that you have rather than throwing them right out. Something like an old cell phone might be a fun toy for a young child that can be repurposed for a few extra years.

Additionally, you should look into how to get rid of batteries and other electronics that you don’t want anymore. There might be organizations within your community that will take e-waste from you and figure out a way to repurpose it.

What May Happen If the E-Waste Problem Continues?

If people don’t stop producing as much e-waste as they are now, the problem that already exists is going to get so much worse. It won’t be long before even more people are suffering the health risks associated with e-waste exposure.

It’s why people need to start taking e-waste way more seriously than they are now. It can help to turn the tide and lessen the negative impact that e-waste is having on the world.

Be Sure You’re Taking E-Waste Recycling Seriously Enough

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is e-waste?”, and understand its dangers, you should see just how detrimental it can be. You should strive to produce less e-waste yourself and encourage others to do the same.

This could make a huge difference when it comes to the world’s e-waste problem. It could also help save lives and make Mother Nature happier than she has been in quite some time.

Would you like to get your hands on some more eco-friendly tips and tricks? Find them in some of the other articles posted on our blog.

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