What was once an issue that barely caused a ripple is now being seen as a major problem. Electronic waste or E-Waste has increased many-fold over the past few years. Currently, around six million pounds of discarded electronic devices are being processed each month at one plant in Fresno run by ERI. That is a fraction of what is being discarded by Americans every month.
With a new generation of 5G devices, the number of devices that will soon be hitting the recycling bins will be astounding. And while it is good that many of these devices will either be recycled whole or have their important components such as aluminum, copper, and steel removed so they can be reused, it is still a massive issue.
Why E-Waste is Growing
The answer is simple, the thirst for the latest, fastest electronics means that more people are getting rid of their older ones even if they still are in good condition. Consider that from 2010 to 2017, Americans increased their spending on new communication devices and telephones almost five times over. However, the $71 billion spent in 2017 may be dwarfed by the amount that will be spent on a new generation of devices that promises even faster download speeds.
The introduction of 5G will result in a changeover of devices that may be on a greater scale compared to when people switched from black and white televisions to color. This transition is great for businesses that produce 5G devices but represents a massive challenge for the proper recycling and disposal of older gadgets, mobile devices, and other components that are not up to the 5G standards.
Hazardous Waste From Electronic Devices
You may be surprised to learn about the hazardous materials found inside many devices. Substances such as mercury and beryllium pose dangers to the health of the environment and all living things that come into contact with these materials. Although their presence in individual devices is quite small and generally harmless, when added together with other disposed materials, it represents a significant problem.
Currently, only 19 states have laws governing the disposal of E-Waste. This means 31 states in which electronic waste can be dumped into landfills. Even in the states that ban such practices, it is left to the consumer to properly dispose of or recycle their old devices.
One way to address the situation is to make electronic devices sturdier and more resilient. This means having batteries that can easily be replaced. Modern rechargeable batteries are often good for only two years. Not being able to replace them only sends the devices to the garbage bin.
That is why better solutions are needed if business owners and consumers are to address the growing issue of electronic waste.
How Brickley Environmental Can Help
If you are facing a situation with electronic waste or E-Waste, Brickley Environmental has the knowledge, experience, and equipment needed to help solve your problem. We offer a wide range of waste management solutions in the Southern California area.
For more information on E-Waste, click here to visit the EPA website.