Recent studies have proved promising, as they indicate that most millennials would prefer to protect the environment than to do whatever it takes to succeed financially. About e-waste, which stands for electronic waste, the need to act has never been as important as it is today, as e-waste is one of the most harmful forms of waste on the planet.
In fact, in just two years between 2014 and 2016, the global e-waste volume grew by 7%, from 41.8 million metric tons to 44.7 million metric tons. According to a recently published study by the United Nations, this amount is expected to increase to 52.2 million metric tons by 2021.
E-waste is a serious problem that bodies, companies, and consumers should not control, as global warming is a real threat that will get worse over time. Here, we will focus on the environmental benefits of recycling, especially the Recycling of Electronic Waste.
Reducing Virgin Content Use
Urban mining is a form of recycling that can help reduce the amount of energy expended. This includes retrieving raw materials such as electronic waste. Furthermore, urban mining is a form of recycling that is far more profitable than mining virgin materials from the earth. The transportation of raw virgin material also consumes abundant amounts of energy, as does the manufacture of raw virgin material.
Recycling e-waste will drastically reduce the amount of energy required, as extracting brand new items will require significant amounts of time, money, and energy that can be spent elsewhere.
Copper and aluminum are materials that are commonly recycled in North America, as the savings generated from recycling copper and aluminum are much greater than the costs incurred in extracting raw virgin materials.
Recycling aluminum in particular costs about 5% of the energy required to manufacture only raw aluminum, and the global aluminum recycling industry has spent about 170 million tons of lethal gases, such as greenhouse gases, entering the atmosphere on an annual basis Stopped. Scrap copper also has many benefits, as the value of recycled copper is about 90% that is newly extracted from the earth.
Reduce Toxins From Waste
E-waste generates a heap of deadly toxins, with the lead being the most common toxin produced from many e-waste products. Many circuit boards contain heavy metals, while most batteries contain lithium and cadmium that can leak if disposed of safely and ethically.
Besides, most LCD screens contain mercury, while cathode ray TV tubes are made with leaded glass that can cause serious environmental damage if disposed of correctly.
Several steps must be taken to reduce the amount of chromium, lead, mercury, cadmium, and other hazardous materials. Mercury is commonly found in compact fluorescent light and is a neurotoxin that can kill in just minutes, with the same content as many other older electronic products.
What’s more, many materials that are not recycled will also end up in landfills, where they will rot in a rot, with many of their toxic waste products eventually reaching groundwater. Besides, the recycling process must be thorough and executed only by a responsible recycling agency that is fully certified by the applicable regulatory agencies.
During the initial recycling phase, some non-viable or unscrupulous recycling plants can perform rudimentary recycling of e-waste by removing hazardous compounds. However, the same companies often remove the heavy metals they extract, which will leave them in the open air as well as bodies of water close to the plants.
Unfortunately, many First World countries will send their e-waste to third world countries to save money, or because they do not want to put in the effort. As a result, most e-waste sent to third world countries is improperly recycled or disposed of, as most third world countries do not enforce any regulations for the environment or human safety.
Help Recover Valuable Resources
Recycling also has other environmental benefits, such as the recovery of valuable natural resources. A study conducted by the University of the United Nations found that companies had to transfer one metric ton of ore to one gram ton of gold. However, by recycling e-waste, the same companies can extract the same amount of gold from about 40 used mobile phones.
Ergo, many rare electronic metals can be found in many common electronic devices, such as phones, tablets, and computers. Some many geopolitical conflicts and wars can be avoided, or at least minimized, by recycling e-waste, as many countries will engage in wars to extract rare metals and minerals from the earth.
Some countries will use conflict resources, which are essentially natural resources derived from designated conflict areas, to end wars by selling them to the highest bidder. Many rare earth metals also have conductive and magnetic properties that are used to make military weapons.
Recycling of e-waste can reduce many geopolitical conflicts, and is environmentally less hazardous, and far more economically beneficial than extracting raw materials and minerals from the earth.
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