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5 reasons why e-waste management is a must for small businesses – and what you can do about it

June 7, 2016

Article courtesy of Credibly
By Erich Lawson

With tons of gadgets, devices, appliances, and equipment being disposed of every single day across the globe, electronic trash (or e-waste) is becoming the biggest source of waste in the world.

The ever-increasing demand for the latest technology has dramatically shortened the service life of smartphones, wearable technology, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices that we use in daily life, leading to a huge pile of hazardous e-waste.

This burgeoning crisis poses a serious challenge to public health and has put the environment at risk. Here are five big reasons why e-waste management should be a significant concern for you and your small business:

1. The Growing Stream Of Waste Puts Data Security At Risk
The careless disposal of electronic waste endangers the security of sensitive data that is stored on computer systems, smart phones, laptops, tablets and other electronic gadgets.

2. The Health Hazards of Trashed Electronic Gadgets
A lot of materials when irresponsibly disposed of pose serious threats to human health. Many electronic gadgets contain several toxic substances like lead, mercury, and cadmium which when tossed into landfills can contaminate the soil and underground sources of water, thereby threatening the health of communities in the surrounding areas.

3. E-waste Endangers the Environment
 E-waste management saves a lot of landfill space, reduces pollution, conserves natural resources and creates new employment opportunities for professional recyclers.

4. It Requires Special Handling Procedures
Unlike municipal waste, electronic waste management requires special treatment measures because it contains both hazardous and reusable materials. E-waste recycling helps in recovering precious metals.

5. Metal Mining Emits Toxic Gases
Mining plays a crucial role in the production of precious metals that are used in the manufacturing of electronic devices. E-waste management promotes recovery of metals that generate tons of carbon dioxide during the production process. With e-waste management, the emission of hazardous gases can be brought down to less than half and the surroundings can be protected from the harmful effects of toxic gases.

The newfound industry of e-waste management is sure to go a long way in securing a cleaner and healthier planet for the coming generations.

What can be done?

  • Businesses should be encouraged to recycle their electronic waste by partnering with licensed recyclers.
  • The government should initiate programs that create awareness on recycling products and offer easy ways to recycle.
  • Initiatives like buy back, mail-in, and e-waste collections can encourage the masses to take charge of their electronic waste.
  • Whole units that are not rendered unusable can be passed on to someone who can and is willing to use them.
  • Consumers can opt for repairs and refurbishment of electronic gadgets if they haven’t reached the end of their service life.
  • Functional parts and components should be recovered for use in repairs and replacements.
  • Components that cannot be repaired should be recycled.
  • Hazardous waste should not be carelessly disposed of in landfills.

Responsible recycling practices will reduce greenhouse gas emissions considerably and consume much less energy than manufacturing new gadgets and devices. E-waste management will protect our health, conserve resources, and save the environment from the hazards of toxic substances.

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