Household recycling in the past was nothing more than going to the nearest public bin and disposing of garbage. With years passing by we now see green,blue and brown recycling bins that are filled with recyclable materials ready to be reused. Easy to recycle materials like paper, vegetable peels are easily taken care of but what about E-waste? Do you even think once before throwing your old phones or computer parts in the bin? Certainly not.
E-waste is something that needs to be sorted first before you throw them and needs special care considering environmental repercussions.
What is WEEE?
WEEE’ stands for ‘Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment’ and is an umbrella term that sums up the recycling of household electronics large and small, such as fridges, computers, TV.
Technology these days have fast outpaced the needs of the population. Companies world over are constantly innovating and improving their products. This has led to upgrading and discarding the old devices. In this age of quick disposal of goods, it is significantly important to take up recycling seriously.
Importance of recycling
Recycling is one of the best ways you could cast a positive impact on the world. It is best both for humans and the natural environment. As per the UN report on Global E-waste monitor, the world generated about 44.7 million metric tonnes of E-waste. It is estimated that out of this only 20% is recycled through appropriate channels.
For many of us, we don't know what to do with our electronic waste when they reach their end life. We generally stuff them in boxes and carelessly throw away with the rest of general rubbish. But do you know much of electronic waste could be reused? Aluminium is a good example. It is an element which does not degrade in quality when it goes through the recycling process.
If all the aluminium is recycled through proper channels, then the need to cast fresh aluminium will no longer be required.
The steel from your computer and mobile phones could be melted and made into new machine parts. The IC(Integrated Circuit) boards contain precious metals like gold, platinum that could be transformed into just about anything.
With so many advantages of recycling your e-waste, there is no way you should be throwing it off in the garbage.
Why is safe disposal of WEEE necessary?
The reason why we need to ensure safe disposal of WEEE are the health risk associated it.
The harmful gases like HFC (Hydrofluorocarbon) which are associated with the improper disposal of your fridge and air conditioner are just some of the risks. Even the smaller electricals contain potentially damaging substances like cadmium and lithium. Batteries contain lead and mercury that have a devastating impact on the environment as it enters the food chain.
In fact, metals like cadmium can accumulate over the years into the food chain, and the toxicity levels of these metals can cause severe kidney damage.
Why do you want to put something in the environment that will eventually come back to you? So recycling and eliminating it altogether is the best option and the most sensible decision.
Moreover, if you own a business and fail to comply with government’s WEEE regulations, then you could face several financial consequences. So in order to save yourself from unnecessary fines, it is important to dispose off WEEE appropriately to reduce the risk of incurring government penalties.
Types of WEEE and their hazards?
WEEE recycling is one of the best ways to get rid of the electronic waste. Companies like TDS Safeguard provides the best WEEE service, and they can get it disposed off legally in an eco-friendly manner.
Treatment of WEEE includes a complex mix of product types and materials, and every metal has to go through proper recycling channels. These are lot of health hazards associated with improper disposal and recycling of these wastes. Some of the commonly found metals in e-waste include the following :
Refrigerants– Mostly found in cooling or heating appliances like freezers and radiators. They must be carefully removed before going ahead with the crushing process. These refrigerants contain ammonia that pose a risk to fire and explosion and is poisonous too.
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)– They are found inside your computer motherboards in resistors and capacitors. These chemicals could cause potential harm to the environment if not treated properly before recycling. If they enter the food chain, they can cause liver damage or even cancer.
Volatile organic compounds– Found in almost all printers and photocopiers. They should be removed from the machine before recycling as they are potential cancer-causing agents. The Toner cartridges must be emptied first before going ahead with the recycling process.
Radioactive substances– Radioactive materials are cancer-causing agents. Your smartphones and tablets contain traces of indium oxide that pose serious health risks to the environment so proper method of recycling should be followed.
Components containing mercury– Mercury is commonly used in mobile phones and fluorescent lamps. They are also found the computer monitors (commonly known as CRT monitors) and in almost all the indoor and outdoor lights.
Upcycling is great idea where you find new uses for your old devices. Old components could be swapped and made best use if you frequently work on computers.
Save the old batteries or chargers that could be used with new computers when something goes wrong with your new device
What should you do ?
You must make sure you store waste safely and securely to prevent pollution and try keeping hazardous, special waste separately.And in case you are unsure about what to do contact TDS safeguard London who are experts in WEEE recycling. They will take care of all your needs as they have proper government permit you can rely upon.
So if you have old electronic items that are fit for use, it’s always best to sell them before you decide to dispose them. Else you can get them recycled and get money out of it. These wastes when not disposed in the right way could account for a large amount of waste in the environment.