The recent rise in popularity of smartphones has caused an issue that we have all overlooked: an increase in e-waste, also known as electronic waste. The more we need electronics, the more will be bought, however all goods have to be thrown away, so this domino effect results in more goods being thrown away. Much like all other types of pollution, we do not notice the effects right away, but when observing the damage in hindsight, what are the effects of e-waste?
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It's important to know the straight facts about e-pollution and where it comes from. Back in 2012, approximately 1.6 billion cell phones were produced, many of which were smartphones. Technologically advanced smartphones often require more complex chemicals in order to function the way it should, including arsenic, lead and some flame retardants.
Smartphones are released every year, consumers are more likely to crave the newest model, so the average amount of time that an average user keeps a cell phone is approximately 18 months. Now, once these phones are thrown out, where do they go?
Phones that are no longer working or are no longer in use often get thrown away. The issue is that only 40% of them are properly recycled, while 60% are completely wasted and irresponsibly processed. So what’s the big issue? If electronics are not disposed of in the right way, they cause very harmful damage to the environment. All of the chemicals that we previously mentioned, including arsenic, lead and flame retardants, slowly seep into the ground and damage the Earth.
What's the solution?
The easiest solution to help prevent continuous e-waste would be to develop recycling centers. This is not only crucial to protect the environment from pollution, but is also a great opportunity to create more jobs, especially in third world countries. Additionally, instead of throwing away used phones, simply repairing them would allow millions of people around the world to purchase phones at a cheap price. Repairing devices would cost less than $1 to get them back to a functional state.
People of course wouldn't throw away their smartphones that often if their devices didn't break down as quickly. So what's the best solution for that? Personalised phone cases would do the job and protect the exterior of a smartphone just fine! They not only look great, but extend the expected lifespan of your device.
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So the next time you’re thinking about throwing away your cell phone, consider disposing of it at a proper recycling facility instead of just throwing it away in the garbage. It is important to raise awareness of growing e-waste pollution, including cellphones, smartphones and computers.
Do you have experience with throwing away an electronic device? If so, did you dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way? Let us know in the comment section below!