“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – Arthur C. Clarke
True, isn’t it? I’ve always marveled at technologies such as the television (TV), computers, cellular phones, portable music gadgets, CD, DVD, Blue-ray, and so on, the list is endless. But never have I wondered about what happens to them, or where they go, when they become kaputt and obsolete. I came across a scientific journal on e-waste where it was mentioned that more than 45 million tonnes of electronic gadgets are discarded worldwide, well, eventually piling up as e-wastes – just like our mountainous garbage and filth that gets piled up at a remote place far from our cities.
I was just watching this movie ‘Wall-E‘, and the very sight of visualizing our planet earth covered with garbage made me feel that this might one day become reality. If you have seen the movie, the director and the artists would’ve given a brown tinge to our garbage filled earth – phew! I just don’t want to see our earth in such a sorry state.
The increasing high income groups in emerging economies like India and China have created a great ‘demand-based’ market in them, resulting in the local production of most of the electronic gadgets. Another reason that can be attributed to the local production of such goods is cheap labor. The multi-fold increase in the demand for electronic goods coupled with the poor knowledge on disposal and recycling options have together increased the risk of e-waste pile up in emerging countries. Developed countries are no better, but those country’s citizens (especially of countries in Europe) are well aware of the hazards of improper disposal of e-waste, and what would become of their green, calm, clean native in another fifty years. They, for sure, are always worried about the future of the earth and their children who will inhabit this beautiful planet.
So, what are those gadgets that commonly become e-waste? They are cell phones, batteries (mostly that of notebook, mobile gadgets, pen cells, use-and-throw-type alkalines, and so on.), computers and printer catridges.
So, how do we minimize the risk of polluting our environment? Most of the big computer companies like HP, Dell, IBM and Intel have dedicated e-waste programs and initiatives. One just needs to get to their respective websites, and do a little bit of exploring ways of returning e-waste computers/cartridges/motherboards to them.
Some important info on electronic goods recycling sites and initiatives:
T-mobile, Sprint Project Connect, SAMSUNG mobile products and recycling, Silicon Valley Students Recycling Used Technology, Sony, STAPLES, E-Cycling Central, DELL’s Reconnect, AT&T Reuse & Recycle, HP Product Recycling, ebay Rethink, and so on.
So, the next time you are about to throw away your notebook or desktop or catridge, refer to the products’ back side to look for recycling tips and links, or visit the company’s website and search for ‘recycle’. You should be able to find some information on the company’s website about the location of the recycle collection center.
We should never ever lead our earth into a situation similar to the one portrayed in Wall-E. No pun intended!!
Most of the local governments are also getting serious about dealing with e-waste. Consider yourself unfortunate if you are in a country like Ghana where e-waste from Europe and USA is exported illegally. I’m not sure of a similar situation in India and China, but it’s the duty of the responsible governments and citizens in sustaining our HOME for our children for another billions of years.
Inspired from Wikia Green