- E-waste is a huge concern for the world due to its harmful effects and the pace at which it is produced.
- It needs to be handled responsibly because it affects human health and pollutes the environment.
- The US government has laid down programs for e-waste disposal and recycling across 25 states.
E-waste is definitely turning into a huge concern for the whole world as the pace at which devices are turning obsolete is hard to keep up with.
Globally, we have crossed the (unfortunate) milestone of producing 50 million metric tons of e-waste in a year back in 2017. And it is steadily rising from there on.
If we look at the previous decade, we have seen a staggering growth rate of over 58% in e-waste production – from 33.8 million metric tons in 2010 to 53.6 million metric tons in 2019 as per the data from Statista.
Thus, it is an alarming signal for all businesses and individuals, to follow e-waste regulations strictly and contribute to the betterment of society.
Table of Content
Why Do We Need to Be Concerned About E-waste?
There lies a huge question mark over the issue of tackling e-waste. But the consequences of this hazardous waste are clear.
1. The risk to human health
Some electronics contain hazardous materials like lead, nickel, and mercury. And when disposed of improperly, they can, in turn, negatively impact humans.
In fact, exposure to e-waste containing harmful chemicals can affect the person’s kidneys, heart, brain, nervous system, and reproductive systems.
2. The growth of environmental pollution
Electronic gadgets are easy to break but hard to decompose. How ironic! These devices contain things like plastic, glass, and metals that survive for a long time.
And not just that. Often they are dumped into the land, thrown into the water, or burnt into the air, polluting the already polluted environment.
3. The loss to the economy
E-waste does not just contain hazardous wastes, they also contain valuable and useful resources that could have been extracted, had it been recycled properly.
It contains materials like copper, gold, and silver. But a huge amount of them is still wasted due to the poor electronics recycling process. This leads to an economic loss.
4. The shortage in landfill space
Since millions of tons of e-waste are produced each year, it is obvious that even dumping a little portion will take up a lot of space.
And even filling up landfills with e-waste is only a poor alternative to recycling it properly. With time, as our landfills reach their capacity, we eventually have to move to better alternatives. So, why not now?
These were only 4 of the many ways problems e-waste creates. But you might have got the idea that it needs to be handled more responsibly, starting from you as an individual and your business.
If you are keen to reduce e-waste in order to build a greener and safer future, you must find efficient ways to reduce the growing e-waste. Now, let us show you the rules and regulations that the US government has laid to control e-waste.
State-by-State E-Waste Legislation in the US
25 states and the District of Columbia currently have a statewide e-waste recycling program. And there are two e-waste disposal methods used among these states.
- Under the first one, which is adopted by 24 states (except California), it is the electronics manufacturer that takes up the charge to collect and recycle electronic devices.
- California uses another model in which the buyers pay a $6 to $10 fee when they purchase an electronic item. This amount is deposited into the state’s e-waste recycling fund.
On top of this, Colorado also prohibits dumping e-waste into solid waste landfills throughout the state and requires counties to have at least 2 electronic recycling events every year. If countries don’t follow this, they may risk a ban.
Here are these 25 states with e-waste disposal and recycling programs. Please go to their website link to get more information.
|11||New Jersey||Click here|
|12||New York||Click here|
|13||North Carolina||Click here|
|17||Rhode Island||Click here|
|18||South Carolina||Click here|
|24||West Virginia||Click here|
The US is right now aiming to emphasize e-waste recycling as a socially responsible thing to do. How? By opening up institutions across the country that take charge and promote recycling for a better world.
The federal government is also providing tax benefits to urge individuals and companies to make a contribution towards recycling waste. But, the path isn’t straightforward. There are many challenges that lie in the path. Now, moving on to discuss the same in the next section.
What are the Challenges of E-waste Recycling?
1. Complexity of e-waste
Electronic devices are hard to recycle as they contain a wide variety of stuff in it. Some of those are harmful and require extra care and specialized disposal techniques.
It also contains useful materials such as gold, silver, and copper which need to be extracted for reuse. This needs no further discussion on how complex it currently is to deal with e-waste.
2. Lack of awareness
A lack of awareness about a major issue never helps the effort against it. And same is the case with e-waste as a lot of people are still unaware of the negative environmental impact of it and the importance of its proper disposal.
This results in many people following poor practices when it comes to electronics and thus, feeding the demon the world is trying to defeat.
3. Inadequate regulatory framework
Currently, as we discussed, only 25 out of 50 states in the US have a proper recycling program. And this is not enough to keep up with such a big issue we are facing in our daily life.
Thankfully, steps are being taken as the US federal government is now intervening to open up more such institutions around the country.
4. Lack of recycling businesses
There is a huge lack of businesses that recycle e-waste as currently only 20% of the world’s e-waste is recycled. Yes! The numbers are quite worrying.
This creates a huge gap in demand and supply and thus, enforces following poor practices. It ultimately leads to the worsening of the situation.
Now, some may not realize but actually, there is currently a huge opportunity for anyone planning to come up with a new e-waste business. And in fact, there is a need for more such businesses.
Why Do We Need More E-waste Recycling Businesses?
The rate at which e-waste is produced far exceeds the rate at which it is recycled. This demands more and more initiatives to be taken to bridge this huge gap. So, below are essential factors that state the necessity of starting a recycling business.
Of course. This is an environmental cause and benefits it immensely. How? Electronic products turned into e-waste contain hazardous chemicals that pollute the environment.
So, such a business prevents this from happening by following best practices. And in the process, also recovers valuables like rare earth metals.
These days many businesses have become increasingly aware of sustainability issues. Thus, they contribute towards making a positive change by making their operation environmental-friendly.
This way they fulfill their corporate social responsibility (CSR). And for them to keep up, such businesses will definitely need to partner up with a recycling business that can do this job for them.
As we said, there is a huge gap to be filled in the recycling industry. So, along with the happiness of doing a good cause, you also make money while doing so. And the best part is, it is easy to start your e-waste business.
If you start such a business, one of the trickiest parts is to collect e-waste from various collection points. This is where e-waste route planner like Upper comes in to save your time and extra cost.
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Here are some of the initiatives implemented for this purpose:
- E-waste disposal bans
- Extended producer responsibility programs
- E-waste collection events
Consumers have a critical role to play in this. Here is how they can help in reducing e-waste:
- Practice donating or selling old electronic devices.
- Use e-waste recycling services provided by manufacturers or local authorities.
- Do not make unnecessary electronic purchases.
Individuals and businesses can promote e-waste recycling by educating others on the importance of recycling and spreading awareness about circular economy practices.
A change starts from us. Thus, it is our prime duty to play our role responsibly to handle this issue. So, cooperate with your local authority and start following the e-waste laws strictly.
To help further, you can promote good practices for recycling waste to your near and dear ones. If you are considering collecting e-waste in the near future, you should take the help of modern software and equipment.
One such software is Upper Route Planner which makes your waste collection process faster by optimizing routes for your drivers. Grab your free trial now.