E-Cycle > E-Waste
I don’t usually buy the newest gadgets as soon as they are released, but I did recently buy a new smartphone so I can have access to 5G. My old phone, which was ‘cutting edge’ when I bought it 3 years ago, is now considered outdated. It’s wild that in this day in age, new technology is constantly evolving making it almost impossible to keep up. What happened to the days when you bought a TV and owned it for 10+ years before you got rid of it?
Unfortunately, my old phone was not tradeable, so I still have it as a backup. For some people though, they might be quick to assume that they can just toss it in the garbage. With 3G scheduled to shut down this year and 5G eventually becoming the standard coverage, there will likely be a fresh mountain of discarded devices.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a major environmental risk and can pollute our waterways, soil, and air. E-waste contains a wide list of toxins, including mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and fire retardant. Computer monitors contain high concentrations of lead.
The good news is that there are easy ways to help minimize e-waste:
- Re-evaluate. Do you really need that new and/or extra gadget? Really?
- Extend the life of your electronics. Buy a case, keep your devices cleaned and maintained, and avoid overcharging the battery.
- Buy environmentally friendly electronics. Look for products labeled as Energy Star or certified by the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT).
- Sell your old electronics. There are plenty of sites that you can utilize such as eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and OfferUp. There’s a huge market for good, used electronic devices and it’s a win-win for everyone!
- Recycle your used devices and batteries. Check your local area for places that E-Cycle. Many programs are free and convenient to find.
There are many other solutions although a lot of the onus is on the developers and manufacturers. As mentioned above, today’s electronics just don’t last that long. Many smartphone batteries can’t be replaced when they stop holding a charge. New laptops don’t accept old cables. Software companies are pushing upgrades that aren’t compatible with old devices. Some companies are doing their part. One example is Apple, which introduced a smartphone-recycling robot that can divert 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from landfills each year. Yet there’s still a lot of room to improve.
Here at the Stump Farm, where White Raven Financial is located, we try our best to minimize e-waste by using technological devices for as long as possible. Old cords and cables are stripped for the copper and reused for other projects. And the local electronic waste warehouse is regularly used to drop off old items and even pick up “new” treasures!
Thanks for reading~