Using Refurbished Technology is the New Solution to E-Waste Management

Using Refurbished Technology is the New Solution to E-Waste Management

Smartphone, motherboards, refrigerators, air conditioners, computer monitors, television sets, chargers, headphones and other electronic devices eventually end up as e-waste. Every year almost 45 million tonnes of e-waste is generated across the world and these stats are expected to increase up to 52 million in the next couple of years. India is among the top five producers of e-waste despite the fact that a major part of India’s population owns few or no electronic devices. Disposing e-waste can be a challenging task as the waste contains metals, minerals, various chemicals and plastic as well. It is difficult to reduce the harmful effects of electronic items on the environment by just recycling them; we need to adopt new ways of managing e-waste.

Why Recycling is not much effective for E-waste management

One of the major reason on why recycling is not effective to manage e-waste is because only 5 per cent of the waste is recycled and 95 per cent of the old electronic devices are left with scrap dealers who have a little regard for the environment. Those scrap dealers are more interested in extracting the valuable parts from such wastes.

Millions of people in India use electronic products and because it is a developing country, people here resell their electronic items which they no longer need; however, the value of such devices makes it more beneficial to extract the minerals, metals, and plastics in them. The process of extracting the minerals from the e-waste is quite dangerous for those who are involved in the process and to the environment as well. In various parts of the world, people recover gold from the circuit boards with the help of hydrochloric and nitric acid. Various chemical wastes like residual waste is improperly dumped into the ground that leads to ecological harm. The people who are involved in the process of extracting minerals from the e-waste are often exposed to noxious fumes which are harmful for health.

Manufacturing Electronics Generates Carbon Footprint

World is in desperate need for the refurbish e-waste as this is the only responsible way to get rid of such waste. An environmental responsibility report shows that a leading smartphone manufacturer admits that while manufacturing, their phone generates almost 80 per cent of carbon footprints. During the use of the company’s phones, the carbon footprint was around 17 per cent. Therefore, even after recycling e-waste, their manufacturers are responsible for the majority of harmful waste. This is the reason why refurbishing e-waste is one and only way till now because it allows manufactured parts to be reused which reduces the carbon footprint significantly.

Every year, the volume of e-waste grows by 4 per cent because electronics manufacturers keep on introducing new products with new features. We need to change how we are handling e-waste instantly or we will continue to throw away them in a manner that will be harmful to nature. If the old methods of managing e-waste continue then it will lead to the increased ecological damage.

Why Refurbishing E-waste is better than Recycling

Every refurbished item is verified to be in working order. One major difference between refurbishing and recycling is that in refurbished goods the components which are in working condition are reused in new products but in recycling the parts are extracted and reused. Therefore, refurbishing is better for the environment as even the best recycling process generates some kind of waste because it is not possible to recycle many parts; eventually, the e-waste becomes completely useless.  On the other hand, refurbishing is effective as the working parts are reused in a new product.

One major advantage of refurbishing e-waste is the old parts can be placed in the new products without jeopardising the quality of the new product. Tech lovers won’t feel any difference in the quality and working of a new product which is manufactured using refurbished e-waste.

Conclusion

Electronics manufacturers are responsible for harming the environment therefore; e-waste which already has manufactured electronic items must be used in new products. There is a huge demand for new consumer products in the market as Indians wants to have goods which are loaded with new and impressive features. It might be feasible to use new parts in manufacturing new products when the demand is low, but in a country like India where the demand of consumer goods are increasing the manufacturers need to manage their resources well.

Every year people around the world change their smartphone for the new one which leads to create more e-waste. On average, a person changes its phone every two years therefore; the demand for electronic devices will continue to grow. In markets like India which have a huge aspirational class, demand will grow at a fast pace.

There are almost 300 million Indians who are actively using smartphones while 2.7 billion people use them globally. This is cause for concern as millions of tonnes of e-waste will be generated in the future. The only way to change the future is by refurbishing e-wastes.

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