There’s been a lot of press lately about single-use plastics and the pollution problems they cause, and that is amazing. It feels like the world is finally starting to pay attention. But another waste problem that is growing fast is discarded phones, computers and electronics. Only 20% of e-waste worldwide is recycled, and 45 MILLION TONS is the estimate for the amount of e-waste that will be created in 2018. And that doesn’t take into consideration the environmental impacts that comes from mining for the minerals, manufacturing waste, and energy and emissions from the transportation costs.
BUT there is something we can all do to help. When the screen on your phone breaks, take it in to get it fixed instead of upgrading to a new model. Or when the new version of your phone comes out, don’t rush out to the stores immediately to buy it if yours still works fine. See if there are places in your area that will fix other electronics, so when something breaks you can take it in to get it fixed rather than tossing it and buying a new one. If you have determined you can’t use something anymore, you can often donate old electronics (that still work) to social programs, like women’s shelters, at-risk youth programs, or environmental causes. And if it doesn’t work anymore, find a good e-waste recycler near you where you can drop it off. Staples and Best Buy stores often have bins where you can drop off old electronics as well.