Where Does E-waste End Up?

By Heather Gunn

Have you ever wondered where e-waste (electronic waste) ends up if it isn’t recycled or donated?

Unfortunately, a lot of old, broken, and unwanted electronics aren’t properly recycled or donated. This means that they often end up in places like landfills where they don’t break down like other waste does.

The problem with having electronics in landfills and dump sites is that they contain harmful materials. Over time, these materials can leak into ground water, harm animals, and eventually do long term harm to the earth.

Before you send your electronics to e-waste recycling companies, do some research to make sure that they don’t ship the electronics off to other countries. The issue with this is that once the electronics are shipped over, with the promise of being properly dealt with, they usually end up sitting in huge landfills – especially in Asian countries where this has become a major issue.

In many rural communities, e-waste is dealt with by burning it, hoarding it, or abandoning it. Burning is still done in many places; This is the practice of burning waste (electrical and otherwise) to get “rid” of it, for lack of other disposal options, or to get materials out of it. Burning any type of waste is extremely harmful to the environment.

Make sure that when your electronics have come to the end of their life, or when you are done using them, that you send them to a viable and local electronics recycling organization. Another option is to donate your old/unwanted electronics to those in need, such as charities or non-profits.

Keeping e-waste out of landfills and away from other harmful areas is something we should all be striving towards as technology becomes more and more prevalent.

Power up the Planet is an Edmonton based non-profit aiming to reduce the amount of e-waste in our community. Find us here: poweruptheplanet.ca

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