Take a look around your home and see how many electrical and electronic items you have. Televisions, computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, washing machine, microwave, fridge… The list really is endless. Items such as these all have an electronic element and that means they contain both valuable metals that we do not want to waste but also hazardous compounds such as cadmium and lead that we do not want to expose either ourselves or the environment to.
So the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) needs to be managed carefully to make sureit does notpollute or contaminateour environment or damage human health. The dangers of e-waste are well-known, so much so that the European Union introduced laws to force individuals and organisations to follow a series of guidelines for e-waste disposal known as the WEEE regulations. Commercial asset recycling company Coara have put together somesimpleguidelines to help you manage e-waste in your own home in a responsible way:
- Buy less – One of the easiest ways to reduce your personal e-waste is simply to buy less. When you are considering replacing or upgrading electrical or electronic equipment consider whether you really need to – can it instead be repaired. And think of the money you would save whilst also dong your bit for the environment. Do you really need that new smartphone?Can you reconfigure and delete files on your laptop to make it run fasterinstead of buying a new one? Just stop and think.
- Better use what you already have– Do you have any old equipment lying around your home that could help re-invigorate your existing equipment. What about an old hard drive that could be used to expand storage space on a computer. Technology hasn’t changed that much in the manufacture of hard drives so even an old one can still be very useful. You could even find yourself developing a new hobby tinkering with electronic gadgets.
- Donate to a favourite charity– If your do have any gadgets, devices, electrical or electronic equipment that you really no longer have a need for then why not help someone out who is less fortunate than yourself?Consider donating these items to a charity or even giving them away to a school, community or youth group. Even local drama societies can make use of old equipment as props in their plays.
- Return to the retailer– In the UK, there are laws which requiresome retailers to take back old waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) under certain circumstances so check out the situation in your area or with your preferred retailer. For instance, if you are planning to buy a new television from a particular shop, they may have to dispose of your old TV, even if you didn’t originally buy it from them. Some companies are also offering trade-in deals so you can get money off your new purchases by simply returning your old items to them. They are doing this because it helps them meet their targets under the WEEE regulations so don’t think they are doing you a favour!