E-Waste Recycling Issue: a Task for Big Tech
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E-waste recycling is a global problem. Neither the manufacturers, nor us consumers are doing nearly enough to address it. In reality, only about 17% of e-waste is actually being recycled worldwide.
Several major tech corporations, including Dell, Google and Microsoft, are pledging to address the growing e-waste recycling issue. These companies have joined the new global initiative, designed to do something about growing e-waste. The goal is to create a circular economy for gadgets by 2030.
Other participants are: Cisco, Glencore, KPMG International, Sims Limited and Vodafone.
E-Waste: What Makes World Leading Electronics Manufacturers Step In
Unfortunately, our demand for the newest technology like cell phones, computers, appliances and such, just keeps growing, and the electronics manufacturing brands are eager to oblige. Which in turn means the actual lifespan of an electronic device becomes shorter and shorter. In some cases, it’s even less than a year. This last year in particular has shown us just how much we depend on technology in our everyday lives. The UN reports that collectively, the world produces around 50 million(!) tonnes of electronic waste. And because the percentage of the outdated products that are being recycled is so low, addressing the e-waste that just keeps on piling up, is essential on the larger scale, as the world’s leading economies join efforts to address global warming.
What Companies are Doing About E-Waste Right Now?
To date, the brand has partnered up with PowerOn to buy back and recycle pre-owned electronics. Beyond that, their e-waste recycling agenda is a bit vague and unclear. However what we can say for sure is that in further efforts to address the growing electronics waste problem, Dell is going to implement the following:
- Participate in accelerating a circular economy for their electronics
- Encourage their customers to adopt a sustainable mindset when it comes to shopping to gadgets
- By 2030, Dell aims their packaging to be 100% recyclable.
The company might be leading the way when it comes to utilizing used unwanted electronics. They have been relying on their own iPhones Trade-in since 2013. And by 2030, they are planning to become completely carbon neutral. For example, the Apple iPhone 11 was the industry first eco-friendly phone and the company is working aggressively towards further reducing the carbon footprint of their products.
One of the smartphone market titans has already introduced their take-back and recycling program, which rewards their customers with a store credit for every used smartphone they turn in. Xiaomi is also to set up at least 1150 e-waste drop-off boxes for the population to properly recycle not only phones, but also batteries, accessories and other miscellaneous electronics.
What Can You Do About E-Waste In Your Household?
OK, this one is kind of obvious, but we cannot stress it enough: do not trash your electronics waste. Why? First off, it is illegal in many states. Secondly, most electronic components contain dangerous toxic chemicals that are bad for the environment, BUT can be scrapped and reused for rare and valuable elements. Pretty much anything that is fully working, but simply has no value to you, can be reused by someone else. There are plenty of options and ways to get rid of tech stuff, be in local drop-offs or mail-in services. For more information, please see our How to Properly Dispose of Unwanted Technology blog post.
Existing Online Buy Back Programs
There are plenty of options when it comes to selling electronics online, and we spoke about it at length in our previous posts. Selling your used laptop, a smartphone or other gadgets is a great way to not only make sure the unwanted technology lives on instead of polluting the landfills, but it can also help you make a few extra bucks. At Gadget Salvation, even if we cannot make you an offer on your device, we will recycle it for you free of charge.
Growing e-waste is a global issue that requires immediate attention. And sure, we all can and should contribute to addressing it in any way we can, but it goes beyond recycling of old electronics. Big corporations must step up as well. Leaders in the tech industry are ought to practice sustainability at every level in order to have a significant positive impact and actually tackle the e-waste problem. Addressing it starts with running operations powered with close to 100% renewable energy, building a responsible and transparent global supply chain, setting clear and unified standards for partners and more. It does not stop there. We need our governments to work together and finally come up with clear e-waste laws and regulations, giving citizens practical tools to keep more e-waste out of landfills.