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E-Waste in Asia

E-Waste – Recycling Is More Important Than Ever

  • 19
  • 01
  • 2017

Do you remember when you bought an electrical item and it lasted for years and years?

For example, I bought a Sony Trinitron television in 1973 and sold it to a friend in 1984. She used it until 2010 when she finally decided to upgrade. Yes, that television set lasted 37 years. It had a few repairs along the way, but it just kept on working.

E-Waste old cell phones

 

Today, we are no longer in the electric age. It’s now the electronic age. And once items became electronic instead of just electric, making repairs became a lost art.

You might be wondering about the difference between electric and electronic. There is overlap between the two, but here’s a very simplistic explanation: an electric device is simply powered by electricity, but an electronic device internally manipulates electrical current using switches that are built into the product.

E Waste recycling plant

Moving old washing machine into the recycling area for washers

So electronic products are much more complex and much more difficult to repair. The end result is that repairing an electronic device often takes a long time, meaning that labor costs can make it more expensive to repair than replace.

Besides the problems with repairing electronic items, there’s the appeal of replacing your old cell phone with a newer model. Who wants a cell phone that can’t take advantage of all the new possibilities?

Electronic devices are becoming more and more sophisticated, so last year’s cell phones and laptops are out of date almost as soon as you take them out of the box.

New cell phone

This phenomenon of becoming outdated quickly makes for a serious problem – e-waste. Yes, electronic waste.

Many people don’t take the time to dispose of electronic items correctly, thereby causing environmental problems. Tech products often contain substances that are toxic to humans and animals, such as lead and mercury.

Asia doesn’t just have its own e-waste to dispose of. Some western countries send e-waste to Asia for disposal – for a price, of course. But it’s getting out of control.

E-Waste recycling center

Recycling center for e-waste with items separated by category

So when you’re ready to dispose of your laptop, look for a proper e-waste recycling center. You may not find a conveniently-located recycling center yet, but Asian countries are working on developing centers for proper e-waste disposal.

Or maybe you could keep that cell phone or laptop for another year until there’s a proper recycling center near you.

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