Featured Image: iStock.com/Jodi Jacobson
Shop till you drop!
Americans are deluded by the love affair of consumer electronics. And with Black Friday just round the corner, the mass hysteria is going to escalate. This is the time when half of the country suddenly starts to feel that their latest iPhone is now obsolete or the new tablet in the market has the features they were looking for since ages. Well, it’s all a game of perception.
When the buyers filled with excitement march to their local stores, they are disappointed by long queues and not to forget the unbeatable soccer moms. Though Black Friday has its own set of pros and cons, the biggest threat budding from this shopping spree is due to the type of products a majority of consumers pick. It is very clear that most of us are overwhelmed by electronics. However, when we go coupon crazy for improved models, we tend to forget the fate of old electronic items. Let me make this clear, not-in-use doesn’t mean junk. But it seems we master the skill of creating e-junk so we just throw away instead of recycling.
The ticking e-waste bomb
Unfortunately, we never stop to think about the e-waste we generate along the way. It is not just a pile of garbage that can be incinerated or dumped in landfills. E-waste requires serious planning and proper treatment before it can be disposed or recycled for scrap. Otherwise, the pile will keep growing under our nose. Besides the challenge of how to treat, we also face the problem of how to control or limit e-junk volume.
It’s a ticking bomb that can explode soon if the e-waste pileup is not controlled. It is estimated that 70% of our toxic waste comprise of e-waste, not nuclear discharge or chemical waste. While engaging in America’s favorite pastime this Thanksgiving just take a moment to consider the stark reality.
Shocking but true
If that wasn’t enough of an eye opener, let’s mull over some more shocking facts. Do you know that the most polluted town is Agbobloshie in Ghana? The pollutant is none other than e-waste. That’s right! Used computers, laptops, cellphones, printers, televisions add more to the fastest growing waste stream and are the unmanaged threats to the environment. Currently, Agbobloshie is importing more than 215 metric tons of e-junk, and at this rate, it is expected that their electronic waste volume will be doubled by 2020.
Now this is as real as it gets. All thanks to our never-ending appetite for gadgets. It’s shocking to know that Americans own 2 billion items of consumer electronics but the hunt for more still continues. However, the major concern here is the future amount of trash that will pileup in about 2 years’ time. Imagine the upcoming volume of electronics for which we clearly have no disposal plans.
The not-so-dark side of Black Friday
In the past few years, some agencies like Philadelphia computer recycling have been selling computers and electronics of similar nature at auctions where the items are refurbished instead of discarding and recycled to use again. But this is just one side of the coin. Majority of the e-waste ends up in the landfills or is illegally traded to the developing countries. However, no actions have been taken to reduce e-waste pileup.
Will we continue to turn a blind eye to the most pressing issue? Apparently, the awareness campaigns for e-waste hazards are not creating any stir. Perhaps, we need something like an ALS ice bucket campaign to wake us from this ignorant slumber or maybe something like a condition to recycle before you buy new gadgets. What can you contribute to minimize high-tech trash?
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