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(R)E-Cycling the E-Waste

by Hajdi Kostova on 5th November, 2012 at 10:14 AM CEST

Over the past few decades, the use of electronic products has grown a lot in every household. There are numerous devices that we use today, both for business and for fun. On average, a household has more than 20 electronic devices in it. The question is - what happens to them after they break or we get bored of them, can they be recycled? 

Yes, they can and the process of recycling electronics is called e-cycling. Recycling used electronics prevents valuable materials from going into the waste stream. Many computer, TV, and cell phone manufacturers, as well as electronics retailers offer some kind of take back program or sponsor recycling events. But the ugly truth is most of them ship this waste to third world countries to burn them causing environmental  hell, destroying nature with this toxic waste. 

That is why today I would like to bring your attention to an eye opening video called “The story of electronics”. It states that “many electronic products are designed for the dump. They have short-life spans, or become obsolete quickly. They are often expensive to repair, and sometimes it’s difficult to find parts. Many consumer-grade electronics products are cheaper to replace than to fix even if you can find someone to fix it.  Because they are designed using  many hazardous compounds, recycling these products involves processing toxic material streams, which is never 100% safe [source]”. Let’s have a look at the video: 

Here are some of the reasons why we buy so many things we don't need.

#1 Cell phone updates. Cell phone companies typically allow free or very inexpensive upgrades every two years, lowering the cost of the phone purchase if you sign a long term contract. This leads people to stop using working cell phones simply because there is something newer, possibly with more features.

#2 - Hardware failures - a report from an electronics warranty service company showed that 24% laptops will fail in the first three years due to hardware malfunctions.

#3 Software updates - a release of a new operating system that can’t run on older computers which lack the memory or processing speed leads those who want to keep up with the current platform to replace their computers.

#4 Changing the battery - most small electronics have rechargeable batteries, and after a certain point the batteries no longer hold a charge and need to be replaced. With some products, however, consumers can’t easily do that themselves and must take the product back to the manufacturer for a new battery [source]. 

So today I ask you to stop and think for a second before buying new electronics. Ask yourselves: Do I really need this? Does the old appliance still work? Can it be fixed? Instead of throwing it, maybe I can donate it. Is the new thing I’m buying “green”? 

This why you might realize that you don’t really need to buy something new, and this might save your money and the planet also. It’s just food for thought. 

Hajdi, Writers Action Team #10 Leader

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Ana Mihajloska

Ana Mihajloska | Action team

Loved the video, Hajdi. I guess this topic touches the subject of the general moral and awareness of the manifacturing companies. Instead of being concerned about the environment, they just look for ways to earn more money without taking into consideration the irreversible damage they make. And again, with the craze of the never-ending emerging new technologies, we are adding our contribution to that irreversible damage without even being aware we are doing that. So, these questions you wrote should become a general idea, should be brought more closely to people so they can start acting in a more sustainable way.

5th November, 2012 @ 11:43 AM CEST

Stefan Alievikj

Stefan Alievikj | C:F staff

And we can sum up this with Muse, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =EF_xdvn52As.

The video included in the article, "The story of Electronics" bluntly and in a funny way depicts our harsh reality. I've seen other videos from this edition also on tapped water and there is another one: the story of stuff.

I wasn't aware of 'green electronics' so thank you Hajdi about this sharing. I guess, picking up our electronics should be as much as careful as picking up our own food in the shops.

Cheers Hajdi,

Stef

5th November, 2012 @ 6:45 PM CEST

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