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Disposing of E-Waste

The advancement of digital technologies has increased the amount of the e-waste that we have started generating.

The prime reason for this is the continuous advancements that keep moving in the digital sector which makes the previously manufactured products obsolete. These obsolete products are then either scrapped for dump sites, or are sent to developing countries, where they are used for a little more time and then scrapped until a newer technology further arrives.

The e-waste generated by us comprises of both toxic as well as non toxic materials. While products like processors, PCBs, silicon chips etc are non toxic junk, there are toxic products like CRT monitors which are categorized as hazardous waste. Out of a total of estimated 50 million tons of e-waste generated globally each year, only 15-20 percent is recycled. And considering the rate of technological advancements, the levels of waste from developing countries, like India, is expected to shoot up by over 5 times in the next decade.

The waste that we keep dumping is not totally unusable. It contains over 60 rare elements. In addition to those, it contains precious metals like gold, silver & platinum and base metals like copper, iron and aluminium. In developed countries, the e-waste processing is now taken as a serious business. In addition to being a profitable business, it helps save the precious earth’s resources and helps reduce green house gases, which would have been produced by the manufacturing of new materials.

It is very much certain that with the further advancement, the waste is going to increase many fold. A conscious effort in this direction should be to avoid the wasteful methodologies and concentrate our efforts towards reusing and repairing, rather than throwing and replacing.

By reducing our “dumping strategy” we can consciously help do our bit to save the planet. It’s a simple logic: The more we waste, the more we are risking the existence of our future generations on this planet.

It would be nice to hear that in future we find a new planet to make our home; but till the time we are on this planet, we should better mend our ways.

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