Electronic waste: what it is and how to reduce it

By Heather Gunn

What is E-waste?

E-waste is the shortened term for electronic waste. Any electronics (old, used, broken, or unwanted) that are tossed out where they can end up in landfills or other unsafe locations is considered e-waste.

E-waste is harmful to the environment for several reasons. When electronics are in places like landfills, they don’t break down as a natural waste would. Instead, temperature changes and exposure to sunlight can cause harmful toxins to be released into the atmosphere. In addition, heavy metals in electronics can dissolve in water, poisoning freshwater and wildlife.

Electronics that are unnecessarily tossed out will pile up over time, however, there are many alternate ways to dispose of them.

How can you help?

There are plenty of things you can do to help reduce the spread of e-waste!
 

  • Reuse

Instead of throwing away your laptop, phone, or other devices, think about reusing it or re-purposing it! Take it apart and make something completely new, use the parts for another electronic device, or give the device to a family member – there are a number of things you can do! 

  • Donate

Many organizations, non-profits, and companies all over Canada accept donations of old/used electronics. Some places (like Power up the Planet!) refurbish your electronics to give to people in need, which will make you feel good knowing that your old devices are going towards a good cause.

If you don’t want to donate via an organization, try donating to someone you know personally that can put a used device to good use.

  • Recycle

If your old device is beyond repair and won’t be able to be used by someone else, don’t throw it out! Instead, properly recycle the device by finding a local electronic waste facility, or give it to an organization who will recycle it on your behalf.

Technology is only going to become more prevalent and readily available, so maintaining a proper system for disposing of e-waste is essential. 

If you reside in the Edmonton area, contact us to donate your old electronics today! We can be reached at [email protected]

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