E-waste Problems and Solutions: Know Different Ways to Support E-waste Management

E-waste Problems and Solutions: Know Different Ways to Support E-waste Management
keyKey Takeaways:
  • The topmost electronic waste problem faced today is the lack of proper e-waste disposal and recycling.
  • E-waste has negative effects on the environment, including pollution, soil and water contamination, and health risks.
  • It is important to dispose of e-waste responsibly through formal recycling methods or donations.
  • Simple steps such as reducing electronic consumption, properly recycling, and educating oneself on e-waste materials can significantly impact reducing e-waste.

The world generates more than 50 million tons of e-waste annually. The reason that every year electronic waste keeps growing is, consumers purchase electronic devices every few years. Not known to them, much electronic equipment contains toxic chemicals that harm humans and the environment. 

As per Statista, by 2030, global e-waste is on track to reach a staggering 75 million Mt. To know more about the stats and trends, read our blog on e-waste statistics and the need to increase the recycling process. 

E-waste is not a new problem, it’s been around since the early 2000s. Countries like the USA, Germany, and Norway often export the issue without finding solutions to environmental hazards.

It’s time to take action on the growing e-waste problem by implementing sustainable solutions. To help you further, we have written this blog on e-waste problems and solutions.

So, ready? Let’s dive deep into this topic.

What is the Top-most Problem of Electronic Waste Faced Today? 

The answer is- Emerging Technology!

The world is transforming into advanced technology and it is getting more and more integrated into every aspect of our lives. Wearables, monitors, smart homes, TVs, streaming OTT platforms, and more are now integrated with semiconductors and sensors. 

However, the lifespan of such electronic components becomes short and many of their batteries get obsolete in a few months or years. And this is termed e-waste.  This is because many electronic devices are made of precious metals like gold, silver, copper, platinum, palladium, lithium, cobalt, and other valuable materials. 

Did you know?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says, “One metric ton of circuit boards can contain 40 to 800 times the amount of gold and 30 to 40 times the amount of copper mined from one metric ton of ore in the United States.”

E-waste: A looming crisis that demands our attention

The environmental hazards caused by e-waste components or old electronic waste materials should not be neglected. Every bit of hazardous waste from used electronic devices causes pollution. Dumping or trashing old electronics without proper disposal or recycling can also harm human health and the environment. 

In our next section, you will understand the negative effects of computer disposal and other toxic materials on the environment in terms of soil, air, water, and humans. 

Effects of E-waste on the Environment

    • The environmental impact affects the soil, human, water, and air. 
    • Putting e-waste in a landfill will release toxins into the soil deforming plants, reducing the yield from crops, and entering the food chain when eaten by humans or livestock. 
    • Soil is contaminated by large particles produced by the informal burning of e-waste.
    • Rain flushes the contaminated soil into water systems, leaving the water pollutant more acidic. 
    • Improper e-waste kills marine and freshwater fish and plants.
    • Contaminated water systems harm biodiversity. 
    • The e-waste problem contains a cocktail of toxic components that poisons human health. It damages the brain, heart, liver, muscles, nervous system, fertility, and bones. 

Now that you have known the hazardous effects of e-waste, understand what can be the solutions to the problems defined above due to the rise of technology. There are two key solutions to e-waste recycling- formal and informal e-waste recycling. 

Two Major Solutions to E-waste Recycling

There are two ways as mentioned for E-waste recycling- formal and informal. Both attempt to solve the growing issue of e-waste. However, informal recycling increases the environmental hazards of e-waste. 

Two major solutions to e-waste recycling

Let us explore the differences between the two e-waste solutions. This might help you with the query of why e-waste is a problem. 

1. Formal e-waste recycling

Formal recycling is the process to reduce e-waste hazards by using ethical approaches. This includes:

    • Careful disassembly 
    • Separate recyclable materials 
    • Cleaning and shredding for re-use

Formal e-waste recycling is expensive and takes ample time than informal e-waste recycling. E-waste management companies that use formal ways follow strict health rules and pollution-free techniques to protect the environment. 

2. Informal e-waste recycling

Poorly paid humans use cheap methods to recover valuable materials and release harmful toxins into the air, and water that destroys the environment. 

    • In this process, they burn up unwanted or old cell phones and other old electronics
    • Then, they use toxic heavy metals and acids to recover gold

In our next section, you will understand the importance of e-waste disposal for better environmental protection.

What is the Importance of E-waste Disposal?

There are multiple factors to consider while e-waste recycling, but here are some key reasons why proper e-waste recycling is important. 

1. To keep waste out of dumping grounds (landfills)

The environmental protection agency (EPA) has stated that it is dangerous if electronic waste is not properly disposed of, as it contains toxic substances and hazardous materials. Mercury, chromium, and lead can drain into soil contamination. Recycling these metals and materials will save the environment. 

2. Reclaim the recycled materials

Many electronic materials like monitors, and ACs, consist of silver, platinum, gold, copper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. These materials should be recycled properly as they are 100% recyclable. 

3. Decrease in demand for new raw materials

Imagine when 1 metric ton of circuit boards consists of 800 times of gold mined, reclaiming valuable materials and recycling them will reduce the need for new raw materials. This will in return conserve natural resources. 

4. Discarded electronic devices  

Electronics that are not in use anymore can also be kept out of landfills if they are refurbished, reused, or donated for a good cause. 

Now that you know the importance of why e-waste should be properly recycled, read below different ways to reduce e-waste responsibly. This will also help you to evaluate how to solve the e-waste problems. 

How to Properly Reduce E-waste in 8 Simple Ways 

Unfortunately, only 20% of e-waste is recycled properly. Even more unfortunate is the fact that most electronic devices can be reused or refurbished or are in perfect working condition. Most of the consumer electronics land up in landfills and add to air and water pollution. 

Minimizing pollution is the best way to keep the environment safe. And, the good news is, there are simple ways to reduce e-waste, as mentioned below. 

1. Sell or donate used electronics

Sell your working gadgets as one easy option to effectively manage e-waste. You might locate a buyer on Craigslist or eBay. Many of these buyers plan to use, resell, or use/sell the items’ components. If not, there are comparisons along with recycling websites that can offer you a price for your outdated technology and enable you to send it off to be successfully recycled or repurposed.

2. Purchase rarely

The most critical step is to REDUCE. It’s incredibly simple to buy a stylish TV, the newest smartphone, or a brand-new laptop. Most people don’t even pause to consider whether they actually require them. Be sure you need something before making a purchase.

Why not just upgrade the software if you’re buying a new device even when your old one is still functional? Your old laptop might be fixed at your nearby computer repair shop. Being a responsible consumer will help you manage your household’s electronic trash effectively.

3. Use old cell phones for GPS

The majority of consumers replace their old phones with new ones each year. Consider using it for something else rather than letting it wither in the desk drawer or, worse, throwing it away. It may be used as a music player or GPS gadget while being kept in your car.

4. Recycle properly

Major retailers and brands offer recycling options in-store, online, and drop-off locations. They recycle TVs, phones, and PCs. In fact, some shops will let you exchange your old gear for gift cards. Before making an electronics purchase, inquire about the store’s buyback policy. Customers have that choice at the majority of large retailers.

5. Organize your electricals

It’s understandable that we sometimes lose track of what we have in our home given the quantity of electronics we store in drawers and cabinets. Consider organizing your current equipment to determine whether you actually need to replace it before making a purchase.

For instance, you might require a memory stick but find out after organizing all your devices that you already have one that isn’t being utilized. Instead of purchasing the same device or charger many times, try sharing devices, cords, and connectors with family members.

6. Save data online

When you can easily store large amounts of data on the Internet, why use a memory stick or other device? Online cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive are all very diverse and free. To help you decide which premium services will work best for you, several of them offer a free 30-day trial.

7. Buy 5-star-rated appliances

When you discard old appliances and purchase new Energy Star models, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Programme pays rebates. In addition to being environmentally responsible, Energy Star appliances use less electricity, which lowers your monthly electric cost. That’s why it is better to choose energy-efficient models, the next time you buy a washing machine, refrigerator, microwave, or air conditioner.

8. Understand the materials used 

Do some study on the components used to make your laptop, dishwasher, or mobile phone. While some raw materials can be recycled easily, others cannot. Additionally, many toxic materials can be found in gadgets. The more informed you are, the easier it will be for you to make long-term purchases of things that won’t damage the environment.

Along with the above solutions, there is a process followed by e-waste recycling companies for successful e-waste recycling. Let’s find out the process. 

3-step Process to Ensure Responsible E-waste Recycling

Step process to ensure responsible e-waste recycling

Follow the below 3-step process to ensure all the electronic devices are processed and recycled in an efficient way. This will help in removing the e-waste problems. 

Step 1: Reuse

The first step is to manually identify all the defects of the electronic device. Check its functionality and usability to determine its value. The consumer returned the device for resale and is tagged further for testing and refurbishing if it works. Ensure the device can store the data labeled and processed to guarantee data confidentiality. 

Step 2: Recover

The second step is to separate and sort the devices that have failed to pass the manual inspection. The devices will then be dismantled into different commodities under metal, glass, plastics, and cables. 

Step 3: Recycle

Once the dismantling is completed, these materials and components are sent to vendors for a refinement process to convert them into raw materials for new products. 

However, recycling these hazardous products has less impact on the environment if they are moved into the making of new products. If the materials are non-hazardous, it’s of no use in redesigning or recycling. 

As studied in the initial section of the blog, technology is the main issue behind generating toxic substances, how do you think, you can collect it from every place? Let’s find out. 

Avoid Delays by Automizing Your E-waste Collection Process

After reading the above problems and solutions to manage e-waste, there’s a simple and quickest way to pick up the e-waste. As major cities are producing e-waste on a daily basis, it is impossible to collect waste from each place. We have a solution for you – Upper Route Planner.

The entire process from collection of e-waste to dropping it at the landfills for recycling is just a few taps away when you have Upper. It is one of the best e-waste management routing software that helps you streamline e-waste pickup from various places in one go. A robust solution for all recycling businesses that can help in planning, scheduling, and optimizing routes for your e-waste collection team.

Let Upper Do the Heavy Lifting of E-waste for You

If you are looking for a solution to manage the e-waste pickup routing process, Upper is all you need to generate faster e-waste pickup routes for your recycling business.


E-waste, which refers to electronic waste, is a major environmental and health hazard. The improper disposal of e-waste can lead to the release of harmful chemicals, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, into the air, water, and soil. This can result in pollution of the environment and harm to both human and animal health. Additionally, e-waste can contribute to climate change through the release of greenhouse gases during production and disposal.

The main approach to reducing e-waste is through the practice of the 3Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reducing e-waste involves consuming fewer electronics, while reusing involves using electronics for as long as possible before disposing of them. Recycling involves safely disposing of electronics through proper methods, such as through authorized recycling centers, to minimize environmental damage.

Here are the three negatives of e-waste:

    • Hazardous materials harm the environment if not properly disposed of, leading to pollution and soil contamination.
    • The toxic chemicals can lead to health issues like respiratory problems, cancers, and birth defects.
    • E-waste in landfills can take a long time to decompose and release toxic chemicals into the environment.

The most common type of e-waste is personal computers, including laptops, desktops, and tablets. Other common types include mobile phones, televisions, and refrigerators.


In a nutshell, increasing e-waste has been poisoning our ecosystems for years. The consequences of failing to tackle the e-waste problems pose serious threats to the environment. The reason why we should stay updated with the recycling e-waste statistics is to contribute towards a healthier planet. 

Besides, you can adapt to the best e-waste management software- Upper to build a greener future. It helps you perform e-waste collection smoothly and wrap up the recycling process early. Using Upper, you can save time and reduce fuel costs as you won’t need unnecessary resources. Don’t believe us? Get your free to know its exclusive features. 

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner, a route planning and optimization software. With 28+ years of experience in the technology industry, Rakesh is a subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems. His ultimate goal with Upper Route Planner is to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges and simplify operations such as route planning, scheduling, dispatching, take a proof of delivery, manage drivers, real time tracking, customer notifications and more. He loves sharing his thoughts on eliminating delivery management challenges via blogs. Read more.