E-Waste - Effects and Prevention

E-Waste as defined by the EU - Electronic and electrical waste, or e-waste, covers a variety of different products that are thrown away after use. Large household appliances, such as washing machines and electric stoves, are the most collected, making up more than half of all collected e-waste.

With the fast-paced technological advancement, today's high-end tech is going to be a relic of the past in a couple of years. Naturally, we are doing to discard them and buy an upgraded model of same. What is overlooked here is what happens to the one lying around in the cupboard, sure there are exchange programs but they are majorly for smartphones, what about your earphones, fitness bands, chargers, wires, etc...?

In today's article, I will speak on E-waste, its harmful impact on the environment, and How you as a consumer can help in reducing it.

The Impact
E-waste from electronic products, lithium-ion batteries, solar panels, etc. It also includes diverse materials including hazardous substances such as lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), mercury, etc., and valuable substances such as iron, steel, copper, aluminum, and plastics. All of this ends up in landfills which not only harms the environment but also has adverse effects on the people residing in that area.

India is the third-largest producer of e-waste after China and the US. More than 95% of this waste is handled by the informal sector. According to a Central Pollution Control Board report, in 2019-20, India generated 1,014,961.2 tonnes of e-waste for 21 types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

The Solution
The need for a sustainable ecosystem was emphasized by India at COP21 when the Paris agreement was signed in 2015, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying stress on Mission Circular Economy last year. For example, your smartphone is also a rich source of commodities such as gold, silver, and copper that may be recovered and reintroduced into the manufacturing process.

There is also a huge right-to-repair movement happening across the globe. Meaning, that manufacturers are putting in terms and conditions such as consumers cannot get their devices repaired at any local shops, doing so will have their warranty void, in effect charging consumers higher prices for even smaller repairs. By doing this they are discouraging consumers to get their devices repaired at all, which ultimately means they will end up in landfills. For a country like India, ‘Right to Repair’ would mean lower cost of ownership and creating massive job opportunities by having millions of small repair shops.

Some other steps that can be taken by you as a consumer includes :
Ensuring you always use the exchange option if provided by the seller from where you are buying the new device.

Avoid buying new electronic devices that the maker can’t reuse or discard. Opting for recyclable or long-lasting electronic products is a sustainable step toward e-waste management.

E-Waste is a real thing the sooner we accept this fact, the better. If the government, manufacturers, and consumers come together we can all tackle this problem, because hey, we can't live without smartphones, GPS maps, and, laptops, so we might as well change our way a bit.

How are you going to do your bit?

Do let us know your thoughts on the above topic in the comment section and let a healthy conversation begin.

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The above information is to spread financial literacy. We are not SEBI registered financial advisors, kindly consult your financial advisor before making any investment decision.


E-waste: The circular economy will cure many ills | The Financial Express

12 ways to reduce and control e-waste for 2022 (indiatimes.com)

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