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How ewaste recycling can be a source of income for countries

April 28th, 2013 · No Comments

In this article we will tell you how ewaste recycling can be a source of income for countries. Here’s the complete details.

With the great pace that technology has acquired, everyone is always looking for a better handset, the next generation PC or the faster laptop. Any electronic device, be it a TV or a player, now fades out much more quickly and we are on the lookout for the next big thing.

Electronic communication though was considered a greener way till some years back but now its extensive usage has led to a phenomenon called e-waste. Let us try and understand this process that is silently nibbling at our health and nature.

Understanding e-waste

The primary question is what is this e-waste? The term covers almost all kinds of electric or electronic items that can enter the waste stream. In simpler words e-waste is every electronic device that you dump for a variety of reasons. It could be a phone handset that stopped working or a laptop that needed to be given up in order to get an upgraded machine or simply the old DVD player that took just too much space in your home.

Now consider this, every year a whooping 20- 50 million tonne of e-waste is generated across the world. This waste is dumped here and there in an attempt to dispose it off.

The amount of waste being dumped is standing on the verge of growing manifold owing to larger purchasing power and the lust for a better, more powerful machine world over.

This brings us to the next important question regarding e-waste, Why is e-waste harmful?

eWaste Recycling

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The threat of e-waste

Going by the sheer numbers, e-waste is the fastest growing waste world over. List of some of the items that are considered hazardous include:

  • Electronic items such as TVs and computer monitors with cathode rays
  • LCD televisions
  • Plasma televisions
  • Portable DVDs with LCD screens
  • LCD desktop monitors
  • Laptops with LCD screens

This list should be able to give you an idea about why these items are hazardous. These and many other such electronic items have a great number of toxic elements such as lead, mercury, cadmium, tin, brominated dioxins that leach in to the earth. When dumped in landfill or water bodies they cause unimaginable harm to the soil and water resources present underneath it.

These metals are also highly reactive in nature. When they come in contact with various other elements and surfaces there is a risk that they will emit more harmful radiations or cause more destruction to our natural resources.

The picture is bleak but there is hope. According to some estimates about 20 per cent of the e-waste that is dumped in landfills or swamps or other water bodies is recycled.

So what is the solution to this ever growing problem?

Reduce, Reuse

It has become all the more pertinent for the developing nations to keep pace with the technological advances to be able to become a developed nation.

Hence it is all the more important for them to find out ways to tackle this menace.

A plausible solution lies in reduction of e-waste generation. Often many a time while an electronic device is dumped on the grounds of being non-working, we may forget that some bits of it may still be in working condition.

Therefore it is important to be able to judge correctly as to what part of the device needs to be ‘dumped’ and what can be reused or re-sold.


A more solid solution to this entire problem lies in recycling.

Time has stood witness to the fact that everything that has been touched by the magic of recycling has gotten a fresh lease of life. It may be a little difficult in case of e-waste as it is not possible to get back the raw material individually from the electronics being dumped. Yet it is highly important to recycle the e-waste in a responsible manner.

Major care needs to be taken while doing recycling of the e-waste as unsafe practices may lead to pollution and health problems for all parties involved.

Recycling e-waste can be a resourceful activity yielding precious metal like gold and zinc. An imperative to recycling responsibly is consumer awareness and acceptance. We need to spread the word and make it common knowledge among people of all backgrounds about the harm caused by generation e-waste. A mindset also needs to be developed about accepting recycling the electronic items.

By creating an open source database of the best practices being adopted world over for recycling the e-waste will definitely be a great move in the direction of making the best of the e-waste.

Some of the benefits that can be derived out of recycling are listed below:

  • Like mentioned beforehand, the recycling of the electronic equipment can yield precious metal which is used in channels, circuits or wiring of a device. Once recovered in large quantities these can be sold off as raw material.
  • You will be contributing hugely to saving planet earth the pain of pollution if you choose to recycle. Think about the amount of waste that you will spare mother earth by not dumping your e-waste in an empty earth pocket or a stream that flows near your house or office.
  • The outdated equipment can be sold off to a needy segment either free of cost or at lower price. Remember if you are thinking of discarding something because you want to buy an improved version then this money can come in handy. If you have chosen to be charitable then you are adding to your good karma.
  • A recycling plant will obviously create job opportunities. If you work for an organisation that generates bigger quantities of e-waste then you may be helping in sustaining livelihood of many people.

Recycling, reusing and reducing the generation of e-waste are the only way forward left for us to follow if we want to save our beautiful, generous planet and ensure that fresh breath of air is still around for the posterity.

We hope now you know how ewaste recycling can be a source of income for countries.

Tags: Recycling