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We are living in an electronic age where the wish-list for Christmas presents mainly comprises of shiny gadgets, which will then replace our old electronic items that no longer shine but still function. Now most of the discarded laptops, mobile phones, entertainment devices, television sets, and office electronics will contribute to the future e-waste. These items can be functional or non-functional but one fact remains ubiquitous that all of these devices contain toxic metals like lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium. When they leach into our environment uncontrollably, they can cause various diseases, and ultimately, pose serious threat to our existence.
In some parts of the world, there are electronic waste drop-off days that allow the local residents to actively get rid of their electronic items that rot in the attic, otherwise. It is simply an initiative from the local authorities to create a platform for active collection of unwanted electronic items that can be disposed off after going through the various stages of waste treatment. However, the e-waste management and treatment is not enough to mitigate the effects of hazardous chemicals that have already leached into our environment beyond control. This calls for the need of an active strategy to minimize electronic waste in the first place.
Some electronics and tech gadgets manufacturing companies are given incentives to reduce their carbon footprint. Committed to this cause, they produce electronic items with minimal toxins. Now if you are really mindful of your purchase, you can eliminate the chances of buying products with hazardous substances. Make sure the electronic items you buy are having the RoHS logo and search for products that have the Energy Star label. Working without electronic gadgets is impossible but by purchasing greener products, you will contribute in reducing harmful e-waste.
So you want to buy the latest iPhone, but have you even considered what would become of the one that is still functional? That’s an expensive piece of electronic that you’ve decided to throw into the bin. Consider not to discard electronic items that can still be of use. If you don’t have an option, then dispose such items through hazardous waste disposal facilities that are registered. Alternatively, contact your electronics manufacturers and inquire if they offer any trade-in programs or take-back policy. In this context, a prominent e-stewards initiative has been launched by Basel Action Network.
Handcrafted gifts are getting out of fashion and they are replaced by you-know-what. This season, take a different approach and give your loved ones something different and unique. Take them on hiking trips, or perhaps, get them some artisanal gifts or anything besides electronics. If you fall for the Christmas season sale offering the coolest gadgets, just bear in mind that it has the potential to do more harm to the environment in the form of e-waste if it’s not properly managed.
A thing that’s not broken, needs no replacement! This statement is valid for more than half of our electronic items. If any gadget is still in functional capacity, then the latest version is not worth the additional social and environmental cost.
Many times the cost of getting new gadgets outweighs the cost of getting old ones repaired by several folds. Consider getting them repaired from the local service centers. If they are not faulty, they can be resold through different platforms. Getting rid of old electronic items without proper disposal will ultimately make living on this planet impossible.
Most old electronic items are not in use anymore despite being functional. They are just a pile of junk and a dangerous one at that. Let’s promise to stay away from gadgets this Christmas and make our generation more aware about e-waste disposal.
Ho Ho Happy Christmas!