By Sabahat Momin
The 5 common misconceptions that revolve around Recycling E waste.
Over the years, we have seen a rapid advancement in technology, and with it, a rapid rise in the number of E waste generated across countries the world over, fortunately ,this has paved the way for numerous books, articles, demonstrations and campaigns creating awareness and the solutions to tackle this issue.
Somewhere along the midst of these genuine efforts, we have seen some general myths that surround E waste recycling, some of the most noted ones are a part of this list :
1. Recycling Electronic waste should, and can be free
The Myth belief : Believers of this myth state that Recycling electronics is a social responsibility, not a service that has to be charged for. If causes like these are charged, they lose the very essence of their purpose, furthermore, they are not very expensive to be charged for.
What we believe : This is false on many accounts. While it is every organisation’s social responsibility to make sure they do not pollute the environment, It is also the general public i.e the society’s social responsibility to make sure that they fund and support the organisation’s efforts, Moreover the costs incurred from recycling E waste is quite high, taking into consideration the labor costs ( specialised personnel that disassemble the equipment safely ), storage and transportation costs.
2. The right time to think about recycling electronics, is when they reach their end of life i.e when it is time to dispose them off
The Myth Belief : Wait for the problem to be created, and then set about solving it.
What we believe : Thinking about recycling and E waste reduction should actually begin when you step into an electronics store to purchase a laptop/cell phone or any other electronic, for that matter, even if you purchase regular groceries, it is vital that you think about it’s environmental friendly disposal, this is because the choices we make at that point, ultimately affects our buying behavior. A good example of this : I want to buy a new laptop, probably a mac, I looked at it’s price, had a glance at it’s warranty, and thought about it’s recycling when it reaches it’s end of life, finally after considering all these aspects, I decide to buy a refurbished mac laptop, the warranty is longer, cost is more reasonable and it is already recycled so it’s recycling would be a much easier feat.
Whenever you intend to buy an electronic, think about the waste it produces, both during and at the end of it’s life. If your PSP is battery powered, does it come with a rechargeable battery unit? how heavily is it packaged? Does it need regular refills? are there any other environmental friendly alternatives available?
3. E waste Recycling is solely for environmental benefits
The myth belief : Yes, we love E waste recycling, but we also believe it has only environmental benefits. Nothing for us here.
What we believe : While E waste recycling is all about sustainability and the environment, this issue has led to the creation of refurbished electronic products which are equal to brand new electronic products in terms of quality, are more price friendly and have a longer warranty, so who is benefiting now ?
The concept of E waste recycling has also opened doors for more employment opportunities in both direct and indirect forms, Not to forget that E waste recycling can also be used to raise funds, Aluminum for example, has always enjoyed a good commodity value.
4. Purchasing recycled/refurbished electronicsdoesn'treally make a difference to the environment
The myth belief : This phone is already recycled, I don’t see how buying it will make any impact on the environment.
What we believe : Purchasing recycled electronics, is crucial for uplifting the market demand for refurbished gadgets, which in turn encourages more manufacturers to opt for producing refurbished products !
Remember, Every recycled product, from a small battery to a wire, places less stress on the environment, and by purchasing them, we are giving the sale of these products a big thumbs up.
Also be sure to look out for labels, statements and mini symbols on the electronics and it’s package, not all recycling symbols mean that the product is refurbished, some icons denote that these products CAN be easily refurbished or recycled.
5. E waste is an issue that has gone far beyond repair
The myth belief : E waste is a problem that cannot be easily resolved as the tons of E waste that are generated have gone beyond control.
What we believe : This is by far one of the worst myths, it is demotivating to the companies as well as individuals that wish to contribute to E waste recycling ,and well, outright false. Remarkable measures have been undertaken to ensure that E waste is properly disposed, and the steady rise of refurbishing companies over the years have only proved that the demand for refurbished products are higher than ever. The increased awareness of this issue on social networks have led to more effective E waste disposal as well.
While these myths still do the rounds, a general awareness about them can help the society to better understand where the issue of E waste recycling currently stands and the sort of mindset that is needed to make sure that E waste recycling is done in an effective and efficient manner.
Sabahat Mominis a Web Marketing assistant atIB Remarketing, Global Recycling & IT Maintenance Company