Let’s talk about e-waste

Let’s talk about e-waste

Nowadays we are surrounded by electronic-  and electrical devices. In the last decade, the use of all kinds of those devices grew exponential and many of us can’t or don’t want to imagine a life without them anymore.

The industry is constantly inventing new stuff or reinventing what already exists and the marketing machinery wants to make us believe that there is always a new and better way to improve our lifestyle and make our lives more easy and comfortable…

I’m not gonna question this so called progress here. Everybody has to decide if a smart kitchen aid, a voice controlled entertainment system or an automated vacuum cleaner is necessary and useful.

I wanna talk about the enormous amount of waste that is generated. Let’s talk about e-waste!

How much is out there? Why is it the fastest growing waste stream? How could we possibly reduce it?

To give people a comparative scale  to the quantity of e-waste that is annually dumped, the autors of „Global e-waste monitor 2020“ choose a cruising ship. If you ever got close to one of those vessels, you know it’s enormous and looks super heavy.

Well, the amount of discarded screens, mobile phones, computers, refrigerators and other household devices, that humanity disposed in 2019, would outweigh the worlds largest cruising ship 350 times!
A huge number and a huge problem.

All kinds of electronics get cheaper and cheaper, the lifespan meanwhile,  shorter and shorter. Sustainability and quality is not in demand. Generally the products are neither manufactured to last long, nor in a way that they could be repaired if broken.There are no spare parts available and  the devices can’t be opened without braking something.

From a sustainable and eco-friendly point of view this is totally absurd and it gets even more perverted if you consider that most ink printers for example have a hidden counter inside. After printing a  certain number of pages, they die down.

Older smartphones are not working with the latest update, which makes it almost impossible to use them. The consumer is forced to buy the newest model, even if his phone is technically working perfectly and well maintained.

So what can we do to solve this?

Recycling is never the ultimate solution. At its’ best, it is treating the symptoms, but never the origins of the worlds’ waste disease.

Recycling electronics is very difficult anyway. Those devices are made of many different materials which have to be separated before the recycling. This is a costy, often unprofitable process that consumes energy and causes emissions.

Many materials that are used to manufacture electronic devices depend on limited resources. For example lithium for batteries and bauxite for aluminum. Mining them has a serious impact on our planet and our eco-systems.

It would  help big time, if we all change our often unconscious ways of consumption.

Think twice before purchasing new items.

If in doubt, just wait a couple of days before you buy something new. Often we are triggered by smart advertising and buy things we simply don’t need.

Buy items of higher quality and support brands that offer extended warranty and accommodating terms and conditions.

Buy second hand! There are numerous companies that refurbish electronics. Most of them even offer a full warranty. You will act more sustainable and save a decent amount of money if you buy 2nd hand. Check out @backmarket to get your tech needs covered in a sustainable way. If you know more companies that refurbish electronic devices please drop a comment below!

Ask your government to pass laws to regulate warranty conditions and guarantee availability of spare parts. You can exert pressure, starting a petition or make use of social media to call the problem into consciousness.
Currently the European Union is preparing a law to bound producers to provide spare parts for ten years.

Share your beliefs with friends and family. The people who are close to you are most likely to listen , take action and make a difference.

Vote for a change using your dollar!!!

No Comments

Post a Comment