The Environmental Benefits Of Recycling E-Waste
Emphasising the Undeniable Threat of E-waste, the Benefits of Recycling IT and the Role That Drones Are Playing In Helping Save the Environment
Guest article by Stewart McGrenary
Countless articles have been written about the UK’s landfill problem, with the primary focus on e-waste, particularly smartphones. These devices are discarded nearly without exception rather than recycled, while more devices are manufactured to later join and enlarge the existing and new colossal heaps of e-waste.
Recent call-outs have been directed at phone manufacturers, recycling centres and to some extent consumers, through the media. It is obvious that the e-waste has become an undeniable threat to UK’s landfills, putting the environment in danger as well.
From this point, we will focus on several environmental benefits of recycling e-waste. Then we will briefly introduce an electronic device that, perhaps ironically, may be a key figure in helping save the environment.
10 Environmental Benefits of Recycling E-waste
While we have made an effort to make this list of benefits as comprehensive as possible, one thing can be said for certain. Any effort, great or small, is worth it if it means protecting the air, water, and land that we live in.
Here are 10 environmental benefits to recycling e-waste:
Shrinks the landfills – This is the most obvious benefit because it also happens to be the most obvious evidence that the problem exists. With an ever-growing population, the landfills need plenty of room for trash. Plus, recycling e-waste will help shrink them, keeping the harmful elements from being exposed to life.
Conservation of resources – E-waste contains many items that could be reused, such as plastic and precious metals that will do more good as raw materials than taking up space in the landfills.
Prevents aggravating global warming – Global warming is a result of ozone layer damage as a result of carbon. Efforts have been in place to fight against worsening the existing problem. Recycling solid waste can prevent millions of tons of carbon from being released into the air.
Economy growth – Given the magnitude of the problem, there would be plenty of jobs to give to willing workers. The e-waste problem reasonably would eventually subside in proportion to the number of jobs specifically created for this problem.
Personal Rewards – Recycling can be rewarding as well as a moral responsibility. In some developing countries, several recycling centers, somewhat like large vending machines, are spread throughout an area. When a person recycles a plastic bottle, for example, a token is given that can be used to purchase food or some other reward.
Manufacturing savings – With some resources becoming scarcer, such as fossil fuels, any increased demand raises their price. Recycling, especially in the case of e-waste, allows materials to be reused, eliminating the need to acquire new raw materials to make products, also reducing the cost of making them.
Energy savings – Recycling materials save most of the energy that was required to make them originally. For example, recycling a million laptops saves enough energy to power over 3,600 homes for a year.
Pushes innovation – As recycling e-waste becomes more and more a part of our consciousness, new innovations are constantly being explored in how to make better electronic products that pose no threat to the environment.
Unifies communities – Recycling is not done simply for the benefit of one local community; it really is for the benefit of all communities. As more and more people work together in recycling, a sense of belonging to a greater good is often felt among groups of people and communities.
Preserves biodiversity – Keeping e-waste out of the landfills means that things like lead and mercury will not drift into the environment where countless ecosystems exist.
Drones – A Formidable Weapon In the Battle Against E-waste?
While drones have been used primarily for unique aerial view videos in niches ranging from hobbies to real estate, they are now gaining popularity as an effective tool in battling e-waste.
Here in this section, we will highlight its use in two areas:
2. Hazardous waste sites
Half of the battle landfill managers have is knowing where to store incoming waste. Sending someone on foot to scope out the site to find a place to dump the waste is time-consuming, and the piles are usually too high to see anyway. It can also put someone in dangerous walking conditions.
A drone can help in two ways: One, it can take an aerial snapshot of any area of the site, giving you an accurate picture of the site’s condition, and what type of waste is stored in any given spot. Two, it can fly quickly to any spot to inspect it, saving massive amounts of man-hours and protecting personnel from possible exposure to hazardous conditions.
Hazardous Waste Sites
Even sites with “acceptable” risk can reach heights impossible for human inspection. Some companies may employ scaffolding in an attempt to reach these heights. Not only can they be expensive in terms of renting the equipment, but also time-consuming, adding greater expense in man-hours.
Drones, on the other hand, have distinct advantages over the conventional methods:
Drones can be easily and quickly manoeuvred into the desired position utilising high-resolution photos or videos to give you an accurate picture of any site.
With high-resolution images, site conditions can be identified or confirmed.
Drones can save miles of steps your staff would normally make to reach any area of the site, especially to faraway areas.
As they relate to e-waste, any of these mounds can be quickly located and documented through photo or video, which can expedite processing and movement.
Even facing the risk that e-waste poses to the environment, much has been done in recent months and years to combat the situation. The benefits to the environment, and to us as residents of the environment, are innumerable. Perhaps the use of drones will help scale our efforts and realise even more of these benefits than we can list.
Bio: Stewart McGrenary is the MD of Plunc.com – one of the UK’s most trusted recyclers, where you can sell everything from iPhones to Apple Watches and games consoles.