Posting in Energy
Tonnes of gadgets are discarded every year - but are we missing out on some extra cash by being too lazy to recycle?
The problem with gadgets is how quickly they can become obsolete. The laptop you bought last year decides to go in to early, blue-screen death throes -- and it's cheaper to purchase a new one. The next iPhone model hits the shelves, and you really need to upgrade your MP3 player.
The models planned for next year will be far superior to what you currently own -- so your items will either be stored away, thrown, or passed along to someone else. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that in 2010, Americans owned 2.4 million tons of electronics they didn't want or need. This number has no doubt risen.
According to The Independent, Britons are throwing away more than 17 million devices each year, with a total value of £762 million ($1,205,000,000 USD). Without realizing their worth, damage to the environment or simply due to not being inclined to trade-in or recycle, these items are simply sent to ever-increasing landfills.
According to mobile phone operator O2, approximately one in three adults sends at least one electronic item to a landfill each year, which would fetch an average of £43.54 ($69) if the item instead was taken to a recycling center. This sounds rather far-fetched in terms of customer profit, however, it would take little more effort on our part to exchange old gadgets rather than send them to a landfill.
According to the Basel Action Network, an environmental justice group based in the U.S.:
"E-waste encompasses a broad and growing range of electronic devices, ranging from large household devices such as refrigerators, air conditioners, cell phones, personal stereos, and consumer electronics to computers, which have been discarded by their users".
Electronic items like these all share something in common -- toxic elements such as lead and cadmium which can be responsible for irrevocable damage to the environment. The number of these chemicals finding themselves within our environment is steadily on the rise, as consumerism and waste increase across the West.
Not only is it wasteful, but old electronics often contain materials that are rapidly becoming short supply -- and companies are willing to pay for discarded gadgets to 'recycle' these properties. 'Trade-in' schemes are now common practice among technology and electronics companies, but perhaps consumers are not taking enough advantage of the opportunity.
Last month, it was discovered that Britain exports over 15 million tonnes of waste accumulated through industrial practices and exports it elsewhere -- as there are no sufficient facilities to recycle it. These exports make up a sixth of the UK's total exports in terms of volume. It has been suggested that Britain will exhaust all its remaining landfill space by 2018.
Image credit: Brett Taylor
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Why throw things away when you can give them away through Freegle (http://ilovefreegle.org/). You don't even need to take things to the tip - people come and collect them from you.
Well anyone in the UK who is sending electrical waste to the landfill is actually breaking the law - there has been electrical recycling legislation in effect for about the last 4-5 years - The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEE :-)). Poeple just need to get off their lazy fat arses and take the stuff down the local council dump/recycle centre where they will take it off your hands, for free too. On the negative side, some local councils have just been stuffing a container and shipping it to some shit-hole in Africa to get rid of it, though they are being found out and jailed.
Here in India there is practically nothing that is not repaired. If the exercise is not cost effective for the end user he/she has the option of selling to a junk dealer who will completely dismantle the device and retrieve everything they can, Even 20 year old monochrome CRT monitors have a value& use !
Recycling these gadgets can lead to even more problems. [b]How?[/b] Like this: in my country there was made a law some years ago which requires everyone to return old or faulty electrical gadgets either to a shop or to a special collecting place "for recycling". What was so very strange with this was that it was the importers of such gadgets that were behind this law. [b]Why?[/b] By doing this they effectively removed ALL used parts from the market, forcing consumers to either buy a new sparepart for high prices, or buy a completely new gadget instead. [b]But surely many of these gadgets can be repaired and sold again?[/b] No, that was the whole point of this law. Not only are You forbidden to ask for, take or buy any of these broken gadgets and try to repair them (usually there is only a broken fuse or some similar simple fault), but the consortium that takes care of the recycling has the power to allow or reject a company from taking part in the "recycling" scam. Over 95% of the companies that used to live on repairing electronics are now out of business. Not only that; our export-import balance has become completely tilted, and we have a massive foreign debt now. Not that it concerns this recycling consortium in any way, because they get their money both from the consumers who are forced to pay a recycling fee (by law) for every new gadget, and also from the importers, who have never been so well off before. Unfortunately, we have nothing to export to compensate for that, so our taxes are rising like crazy. So, if a similar scam if being planned in Your country right now, [b]be on Your guard.[/b] Demand that repairing of gadgets is allowed, by whomever wants to repair. Otherwise it will take about six years for Your country's economy to be ruined too. Unfortunately I can't tell You which country this is because there may be repercussions, but it is a western european country.
Yes, What you say makes sense to me but it won't to our leaders. It's not that bad here but it's started to happen.