EOL Electronics Disposal: Leveraging Technology to Find Sustainable eWaste

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Electrical equipment and electronic devices are vital to modern society, and their benefits are indisputable. However, they generate electronic waste, also known as e-waste or end-of-life (EOL) electronics. Globally, more than 50 million tons of e-waste are produced yearly. E-waste disposal has detrimental effects on the environment as electronics accumulate in landfills or spaces that aren’t designated for waste, gaining exposure to heat and triggering the release of toxic elements like beryllium, cadmium, and lead into the air. Consequently, harmful compounds enter the groundwater, impacting terrestrial and aquatic species. E-waste contaminates the earth surrounding dumping grounds, further spreading in the water and air.

Indeed, e-waste isn’t the only driver of changing global climate and the host of threats the phenomenon brings. Improper waste management and disposal in places ranging from the average household to giant factories are also significant contributors to long-term temperature and weather shifts. Businesses use various tools and approaches to dispose of waste efficiently and sustainably as part of ongoing efforts to solve environmental issues, with recycling topping the list. There are many different compactors and balers for sale on the market designed to help participants in various industries dispose of cardboard, plastic, polystyrene, and other materials to benefit both the environment and the facility.

Some e-waste solutions are created for businesses and significant e-waste generators. Meanwhile, the average household can dispose of e-waste in several ways, like finding an e-waste recycler, selling or donating the technology. Today, some innovative solutions are making waves and inflicting hope for a greener future. As you’ll see, the following technologies have enormous potential to solve the e-waste problem if implemented on a larger scale.

Electronics Disposal

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IoT-driven waste management tools

In popular perception, waste management is regarded as a manual and solicitous task with little technological implication. However, how trash is disposed of can significantly benefit from the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G, which have made a lot of noise lately. E-waste monitoring systems deliver what they promise. They can streamline human efforts and execution through connected devices, sensors, and wireless networks. Wireless mobile advances such as 5G can enable wider adoption of IoT smart waste systems through cities.

IoT connectivity has numerous indisputable advantages, and waste management can significantly benefit from them. For instance, it enables facilities to monitor the amount of waste buildup in containers and create a waste-disposal route based on the information gathered. This ensures the path found allows vehicles to save money and effort.

IoT smart bins

IoT smart bins are another notable solution that can be implemented citywide. The system has ultrasonic or PIR sensors to track waste occupancy and inform collectors when they can’t be used anymore. Together with them, a different practice of waste sorting must become more widespread, namely one that uses sensors to help the waste sorting process. IoT can help dispose of toxic and recyclable waste more efficiently.

Real-time monitoring is another effect made possible by the 5G technology used in smart bins. It can, for instance, detect and notify when someone is involved in an accident or when containers are improperly placed. 

Urban mining

Just because electronics are put aside and out of use doesn’t mean they become useless. In fact, they are valuable resources full in valorous elements like palladium and silver. In only one million utilized cell phones, you can find 24 kg of gold, 14 kg of palladium and 350 kg of silver. Many of these precious materials are frittered away.

However, different waste management solutions like chemical processes and mechanical separation can enable those in charge of the process to recuperate these materials efficiently.

Recycling plants

Scanners, balers, shredders, compactors, and sorters have made it easier and easier for the world to ensure a safe recycling process. Businesses still need to pay more attention to their waste management strategies, but improvements are being seen in this regard. A recycling plant can be the solution to the users’ needs.

Before using one, it’s best to understand what recycling plants imply. The research will help businesses understand better what items can be thrown away and what can be recycled.

Biodegradable circuit boards

Current circuit boards are essential pieces of technology that link devices to one another in order to permit connection. However, the current ones the world uses are not biodegradable, representing environmental threats to the air, water, and soil. They discharge toxins into the ecosystem, and even when recycled, they need to go through incineration, which also releases harmful gases.

The world has welcomed fully biodegradable circuit boards with silicon, paper, and other biodegradable resources thanks to ongoing research. They are environmentally friendly and achieve the same performance as traditional boards.

What can you do about e-waste?

With the growing awareness of the environmental impact of waste in the form of cardboard, plastic, electronics, and everything that gets out of use, it’s only normal to wonder what the average individual can do to assist in making a change for the better. If you don’t want to harm the environment the next time an electronic product becomes unusable, then you should adopt the following practices:

  • Opt to recycle through retailers that have OTC, drop-off sites, or online recycling methods
  • Sell or donate working electronics and parts of the devices on platforms like eBay  
  • Adhere to the 3 R’s mantra (reduce, reuse, recycle), with priority given to reduction
  • Find websites that can take your old devices and appliances and, why not, even pay you for them 
  • Understand the legal status of battery disposal in your state
  • Consider prolonging the usage period of your smartphone.

Summing up

From commerce to healthcare, constantly innovating and emerging technologies have transformed and improved every industry, becoming ubiquitous in everyone’s lives. Now technology has a new stop on its route map, which is finding long-term solutions to the increasingly pressing e-waste problem. This matter can’t be eradicated entirely but instead contained.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About E-Waste



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