When we think of recycling, we tend to focus on things like paper, plastic, and scrap metal. Obviously, these things can be quite devastating for the environment. However, one thing people often don’t think about when it comes to recycling is the rising amount of e-waste. Let’s take a look at this problem and how your favorite scrap metal recycling center in Charlotte can help.
What is E-Waste?
As you could likely guess, e-waste is short for electronic waste. This is a category of waste that includes old, broken, or simply unwanted electronic equipment. Thus, e-waste includes a variety of things such as computers, cell phones, office copiers, printers, and any other electronic that is discarded.
Some e-waste is ultimately diverted to refurbishment or reuse. Other e-waste can be recycled. In fact, when you search for a “recycling center near me,” you may find many that are able to process this type of waste. E-waste can contain many metals such as copper, mercury, nickel, lead, and cadmium among others. It also often contains plastics and many chemicals.
How Much e-Waste is Produced and Recycled?
When you think about the amount of waste produced by society, you probably don’t picture towering piles of old computers and office equipment. However, the reality is that e-Waste amounts to a considerable amount of junk each year. The United Nations’ e-Waste Monitor has determined that more than 50 million metric tons of e-waste are produced annually.
In fact, e-waste is the most rapidly growing type of waste. During the period from 2010 to 2019, it increased by 60 percent. This problem is expected to grow to over 75 million metric tons by 2030. Fortunately, e-waste can be recycled. Unfortunately, much of it isn’t, leading to large amounts ending up in landfills.
Approximately 17 percent of e-waste is recycled each year. It makes sense to recycle e-waste for many reasons including the content which includes many items that are good choices for scrap metal recycling. However, the majority of this waste does not make its way to recycling centers in Charlotte or elsewhere in the world.
What are the Problems of e-Waste?
There are a number of problems that are associated with e-waste. These can hurt the environment, people, and society. Below are some of the most notable issues, although it is important to note that this is not an exhaustive list.
Many aspects of e-waste contain toxic compounds. Disposing of these can cause concerns with these toxic chemicals can slip into soil, groundwater, waterways, or the environment in other ways, causing health risks for the local population.
Most e-waste in industrialized nations is shipped to third world countries. Here, it is often burned or soaked in acid in an attempt to recover some of the valuable scrap metal for sale. These processes cause significant pollution while only recovering a fraction of the metal. This process also shortens the life expectancy of workers.