With global digitalization and the rise in disposable income, the purchase of new, upgraded electronic devices has become very simple and accessible. Frequent replacements of outdated gadgets such as mobile phones or laptops with well-equipped newer models have increased in recent years. This increases the amount of e-waste which in proportion increases environmental hazards.
Electronic waste commonly referred to as e-waste is used to describe already used electronic devices which are going to be discarded or are near to end of their useful life. There are serious concerns about the unsafe handling of e-waste which can harm human health and the environment. To overcome this issue, e-waste management is introduced.
E-waste management deals with the mitigation of toxic substances and metals which can leach into the soil contaminating air or waterways. Such significance of e-waste management and new government policies towards environmental safety will help The global e-waste management industry to reach its projected value of USD 147.11 Billion by 2030.
What Is E-Waste Management?
The disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment is an emerging global environmental and public health issue. This e-waste is very complex in nature but is also a rich source of metals such as gold, silver, and copper which can be recovered and further used in the manufacturing sector. On the other hand, it contains some hazardous metallic contaminants such as lead, cadmium, and beryllium.
E-waste management focuses on three main activities which include Reducing, reusing, and Recycling. Reduce the generation of e-waste through smart procurement and good maintenance. Well-functioning but outdated electronic devices can be reused by donating or selling them. The last one recycle refers to the processing and further using that processed e-waste material in several production facilities.
Process of Recycling E-waste
Recycling is reprocessing and reusing of electronic and electrical equipment by following certain steps. Some of the common recyclable e-waste components consist of plastic, metal, glass, circuit board, hard disk, and others. The general steps followed in the process of e-waste recycling are as follows.
- E-waste materials are first collected at specific locations and then it is transported to the recycling facilities and plants.
- Next is shredding and sorting. In the shredding process, the electronic waste is broken into smaller pieces for sorting usable and toxic materials apart.
- The tiny waste particles get smoothly spread via the shaking process using a conveyor belt. After further breaking down of those particles, the dust is extracted and discarded in an environmentally friendly manner.
- After dust extraction, a strong overhead magnet is used to separate steel and iron from remaining waste. This is known as the magnetic separation process.
- Next step in this process is water separation which is used to separate glass and plastic.
- Before actually using the recycled material, a purification process is followed to extract leftover metal from the waste.
Benefits of E-Waste Management
E-waste management is the only way to obtain reusable metal and reduce the effects of toxic metal which will reduce the overall impact of waste electronics. There are many other benefits of E-waste management and some of them are discussed below.
- E-waste recycling helps recover valuable materials from electronic products which save and conserves natural resources. Manufacturers can now obtain raw materials from recycled waste.
- The primary aim of e-scrap recycling is to achieve environmental protection. It seeks to prioritize proper handling, processing, and managing hazardous and toxic substances that you may find in your e-waste stream.
- E-waste management provides new jobs for persons such as professional recyclers. It has also created a secondary market where recycled materials are the primary commodity.
- Recycling e-waste helps reduce the amount of e-wastes pilling up at landfills. Landfills can also pollute the water and soil in our local environment. Activities like e-waste recycling reduce these environmental concerns and are not just beneficial, but also life-saving.
E-waste management is a serious global concern for a lot of reasons. It has a strong bearing on our immediate environment as humans and life on earth. Electronic waste management promises significant economic returns for individuals, communities, and countries. Recent Developments in technology will let digital manufacturers and tech companies to take more advantage of e-recycling as a steady revenue stream and provide advanced environmental goals.