If you’re like me, you have a room in your house filled with a bunch of old computers and other electronics.
Maybe it’s even overflowing with stuff that doesn’t work anymore. Even though I know better than to let my devices pile up like this, it still happens every now and then—especially when new technology comes out that’s so shiny and cool-looking! But what do we do with all these old devices once they’re no longer useful?
Do we recycle them? Throw them away? Neither of those choices is good for the environment or our health.
So here are some tips on how to reduce e-waste while still enjoying all the cool new gadgets out there:
What Is E-Waste?
E-waste is a term used to describe old or broken devices that contain potentially toxic materials. In other words, e-waste refers to electronics that have been thrown away and are now sitting in landfills.
These include computers, cell phones, TVs, printers, and other gadgets. According to the United Nations University, every year we throw away 50 million tons of electronic waste—more than 80% of which comes from households!
Why Is E-Waste Dangerous?
The problem with e-waste is that it contains many toxic substances like arsenic, lead, mercury, cadmium, and beryllium.
These hazardous materials pose a serious threat to both human health and the environment. They can be released into the atmosphere through incineration or landfill sites and then they contaminate water bodies and soil leading to adverse effects on human health such as cancer or neurological disorders.
Lead is known to cause brain damage in children and also increases blood pressure in adults. Cadmium can cause kidney failure and even death if it enters your system in high enough quantities over time. Mercury is especially dangerous because it can travel through the soil into groundwater supplies where it could contaminate drinking water for years to come.
How To Prevent E-Waste
Use rechargeable batteries. You can buy rechargeable batteries for most electronic devices, and they’ll save you money in the long run.
Don’t leave your gadgets plugged in all the time. This is especially true if you don’t use them often—that’s just wasting energy! If you do have a gadget that needs to be charged all the time, try plugging it into a power strip or surge protector so that when it’s not being used, it will turn off automatically (this will also help save energy).
Make extra room on your phone or laptop. Use a video compressor to reduce the file size of your videos without sacrificing quality. You can then store them on Google Drive. Create animated GIFs of your photos or movies using GIF compressor, then share them on social media before deleting them. In this manner, you can avoid purchasing a new phone with more memory.
Don’t throw your gadgets away. Recycle them or reuse them.
There are a number of ways to reuse your gadgets. You can donate them to charities and schools, resell them, or recycle them.
Donate your gadgets. Many charitable organizations accept donations of old electronics, including computers, monitors, and printers; cell phones; tablets; and gaming systems. The Salvation Army accepts all types of working or nonworking electronics for reuse in their thrift stores nationwide.
Goodwill Industries accepts most brands of working or nonworking electronics for donation at any location (goodwillnetwork.org); please call ahead before bringing items by so that staff members can make sure they’ll be accepted.
Schools often accept donations of laptops and other educational technology used in the classroom; check with your local school district to find out what they need most before donating anything special like a laptop computer.
With so many gadgets on the market, it’s easy to see why people might just throw their old ones away. But if you take a moment to think about how much money, energy, and resources went into creating them (not to mention all the precious metals in there), it’s clear that recycling or reusing electronics is a much better choice for the environment than throwing them out. Plus, with some careful planning now (like looking up how much your state recycles), you can make sure those devices stay out of landfills forever!
Ronie is from Veed. He is a passionate content marketer with a wealth of knowledge in the online space. His curiosity and enthusiasm led to the development of a constantly expanding portfolio that includes anything from video editing services to publishing his original creations on top-notch websites.
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