E-waste Recycling: Meaning and Importance

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E-waste Recycling: Meaning and Importance


Meaning: Electronic waste or e-waste is the term used for unwanted electronic gadgets that can no longer be used.

E-waste recycling means modifying the gadgets to make it usable for the same or some other purpose. Phones, TV, computers, washing machines, DVD can be considered e-wastes after their life ends.

You might have heard of paper and plastic waste recycling, but nowadays electronic wastes too are being recycled.

Below, we have discussed what does E-waste recycling mean, why do we need to recycle e-wastes and how can it be done.

Why is it Important to recycle e-waste?


  1. Useless electronics: What would you do with wastes accumulating in your house? You would either throw them out or reuse some of the usable stuffs. However, throwing away the wastes is not a wise choice because they would still accumulate in the environment. Instead, you can separate the unusable electronic items and give/sell it to your garbage collector for sending them to the factories for recycling.
  1. Hazardous: Electronic gadgets contain harmful chemicals like cadmium, lithium and lead. If these gadgets are thrown away in the environment these chemicals will accumulate and can be fatal for the plants, animals and us too. So, recycling can help us reduce the accumulation of hazardous chemicals.
  1. Environment Friendly: Recycling is an environment friendly process. It helps in reducing the manufacturing of new materials as we can use the old ones in building other materials.  For example- IBM (a computer giant) has started to recycle old computer chips that can also be used in solar panels.
  1. Most e-wastes are non-biodegradable: Non-biodegradable substances are those substances that take a very long time (about 500 years) to get decomposed. Electronic items contain such materials and following the 3R rule (Reduce, Recycle and Reuse) is a wiser choice.
  1. Valuable: E-Waste circuit boards contain a number of valuable materials like gold, copper, plastics, etc. Recycling e-wastes not only means to convert the unusable stuffs to usable stuffs, but also to recover materials that have economic importance.
  1. Reusable: E-Wastes consist of 90% recoverable and reusable materials. All the metals present in them are reusable. The circuit boards can also be reused again after some processing.
  1. Increasing demand for refurbished electronics: Refurbished electronics are those electronic items that have been returned to the factory by customers and then the factory corrects the fault in it and re sells it. Refurbished items can also be pre-owned. Refurbished items have lower prices than the fresh factory made products. And therefore, they are economically beneficial.
  1. Waste management is easy: Recycling electronic items helps in reducing the waste and a sector of waste will disappear if every electronic waste is sent for the recycling purpose.
  1. Conservation of natural resources: We have mentioned in point five that valuable elements can be recovered by recycling e- wastes. And by reusing the already used elements in the electronic items, we are indirectly reducing the exploitation of natural resources.

Waste management is necessary because every day tons of wastes are accumulated in the world and there are tons of non-biodegradable substances present in them. It is the duty of every individual to manage the wastes first at home. If everybody develops such a mindset, then the environmental conservation process will automatically be in full-fledged form!

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