While addressing the issue of waste management, it is very important to not overlook the increasing amount of e-waste that needs proper modes of disposal. According to Research and Markets, globally, e-waste is expected to climb to nearly 7 kilograms of e-waste per person by 2022. Considering that many of the top-selling smartphones weigh around six ounces, that’s a significant amount of e-waste.
An International Solid Waste Association study has found that of the 44.7 metric tons e-waste generated in 2016, only 8.9 metric tons were collected and recycled, while the remaining was disposed into residual waste to be incinerated or landfilled.
The improper disposal of e-waste can lead to many negative environmental impacts, including the poisoning of human food chains, because of the presence of toxic rare earth minerals present in the electronics.
While the governments across the globe are taking initiatives to spread awareness regarding safe disposal of this waste, it is imperative for the producers of these products to ensure appropriate disposal of it.
One electronics company doing its part to promote a circular economy is HP. Since 2016, HP has been drawing attention to the impact of e-waste. It says it is helping electronics hoarders let go of their unwanted devices by publicly offering recycling services, trade-in incentives, return for cash or donation options as well as to safely destroy data drives and other electronics at the end of their life cycle.
The company claims to have used over half a million pounds of ocean-bound plastic in their products, and more than 80 per cent of HP ink cartridges and 100 per cent of HP LaserJet toner cartridges are manufactured with recycled content.
The company also supports events designed to inspire new ideas to push the circular economy forward. In fact, it hosted a Massachusetts Institute of Technology event focused on moving away from the traditional approach of making electronics as take, make and dispose of in August 2019. Innovators were brought together to brainstorm solutions that could enable a shift in supply chains from linear to circular, helping to reduce waste and improve lives along the way. Organizers of the event say new solutions will be presented later this year.
Additionally, some colleges and universities across the United States already are teaching students how to repair electronics that would otherwise become e-waste.
It is important for everyone to understand that we have not inherited the environment from our past generations. We have borrowed it from our future generations. Thus, we need to take proactive steps to protect it and leave it the way we found it for the next generation.
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The CSR Journal Team