It is undeniably that e-waste management is a lucrative industry, mainly from taking care of our unwanted electronics. In many countries where waste management is highly monitored by the law, people are repeatedly reminded. In New York, the residents are forbidden to throw away electronics or they will need to pay $100 fine for it. The only option for it is to send the items to the drop-off locations for recycling.
Excessive amount of users
With the fast growth of electronic industry which includes smart phones, computers, and home appliances, governments of some nations took a huge step to restrict the waste from all these products to end up in a landfill, as it may impose many further problems such as pollution and health.
United Nations reported that the US alone produces about 6.3 million tons, or 14% of the world’s electronic waste. In the past, these nations would transport their e-waste to the developing nations. However, with this surge, countries like Vietnam and Thailand had to put a stricter regulation.
Turning in your e-waste to save earth
Components in every electronic product are made of various materials which, once recycled, can be used again for entirely new products. For instance, mobile phone contains precious materials such as platinum that can be recycled into component plating and palladium that is essential for fuel cells. There are even parts that can be wholly reused, such as aerials, battery connectors, PCBs, and connectors.
Gaming consoles, too, can be recycled for a wide range of usage. Take the steel for example, it can easily be made into new computer casings, car parts, and beams.
In most drop-off locations, they pay you with a considerably good amount of money for turning in your unwanted e-waste. If you find yourself not the ‘go-green’ type of person, just imagine doing this initiative as part of reselling your older stuff.
Extracting gold from e-waste
It is estimated that each computer consists of over $10 worth of gold depending on the current market price, and the gold can be, then, moulded into any shape and used for the next electronic products.
In the past, the extraction of gold from electronic components were deemed as harmful for environment. Being one of the least reactive chemical elements, gold can be difficult to dissolve. Traditionally, sodium cyanide was used for the extraction. However, in 2016, Professor Stephen Foley and his team from University of Saskatchewan discovered a new method of gold extraction which he explained as – simple, cheap, and environmentally benign solution.
The discovery suggested that gold can be effectively and efficiently dissolved using acetic acid, which is combined with tiny amounts of an oxidant and another acid. It strips out gold from circuits in about 10 seconds.
Be a considerate electronic user
The way how we should look at this matter, is not just on the action needed, but also the idea that not everything you own should not be thrown away, especially when the thing is limited to be obtained in the future. It is the awareness in one’s self that will determine the success of the cause.
(i) Ossola. A. “Where Do Recycled Electronics Go?” Popular Science.23 December 2014. <https://www.popsci.com/where-do-recycled-electronics-go/>
(ii) Great Lake Electronics Corporation. “Benefits of E-Waste Recycling: Top Reasons Why Recycling Remains the Best to Solve E-Waste.” <https://www.ewaste1.com/benefits-of-e-waste-recycling/>
(iii) Recycle Now. “How are electrical items recycle?” <https://www.recyclenow.com/recycling-knowledge/how-is-it-recycled/electricals>
(iv) University of Saskatchewan. “Turning electronic waste into gold.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160128122901.htm>