The huge amounts of waste individuals and businesses produce is one of the biggest problems facing society. Of course, it’s not all bad news as the total percentage of waste that ends up being recycled continues to rise year after year. Nonetheless, one area where this is not necessarily the case is when it comes to electronic waste or so-called e-waste.
According to a UN report, only 16 percent of global e-waste was recycled in 2014, which means that humanity has a long way to go if it ever hopes to fully tackle this growing problem. In light of this, here are three reasons why recycling electronic waste is something everyone needs to take seriously.
Electronic Waste Creates Huge Environmental Problems
In terms of the potential to cause huge environmental problems, electronic waste is far more dangerous than most other types of trash. Computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment contains a wide range of hazardous and/or potentially toxic materials. Cadmium, copper, chromium, beryllium, lead and mercury are just some of the toxic chemicals that e-waste can contain.
Although these chemicals typically don’t pose a hazard for the user, they have the potential to cause wide ranging environmental damage if the e-waste is not properly disposed of. Tossing your e-waste in the trash can means that it will end up in a landfill, where these chemicals often seep out into the soil and can potentially pollute the groundwater. Another major issue is that much of the world’s e-waste ends up being shipped to places like Ghana, China and other third-world countries that lack the proper knowledge and equipment to recycle it. Instead, this e-waste is often burned, which releases a huge amount of toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.
Recycling E-Waste Makes Sure You Avoid Legal Troubles
The fact that so much of the world’s old electronic equipment ends up in landfills is something that many state and local governments are hoping to solve. As a result, places like California have made it a crime to not properly dispose of your old electronic equipment. This means that if you’re not using a company like Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc., you might soon find yourself facing steep fines and other potential legal problems. In this sense, making sure to recycle your e-waste is both a smart idea for the planet and also for your pocketbook.
Properly Disposing of Your Old Electronics Can Help to Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft is a growing problem in the world, and the fact is that your old phone or computer likely contains all sorts of information that could potentially be used to steal your identity. In fact, would-be identity thieves often rummage through trash cans in search of old electronic equipment for precisely this reason. In this sense, tossing your old computer in the trash not only has the potential to pollution problems, but it could also lead to major financial and legal troubles should you become a victim of identity theft. This is yet another reason why it’s a good idea to recycle your e-waste since it will ensure that any sensitive personal data your electronic equipment contains doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
Ultimately, there are far more reasons to recycle e-waste than it would be possible to mention here. It’s a simple fact that the amount of e-waste the world produces is increasing almost exponentially. For this reason, it is up to every single person to do their part to ensure that this problem is tackled now before it becomes too late.
Lizzie Weakley, the author of this post, is a freelance writer.