, What is E-Waste?
E-waste or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) describes discarded, surplus, obsolete, or broken electrical or electronic devices such as computers, televisions, and mobile phones. Globally, e-waste is growing at a rate of about 40 million tonnes per year as consumers, in both developed and developing nations, buy new gadgets and discard their old ones.
E-waste that is dumped into landfills or is recycled without care, can leach heavy metals into the ground water and soil. Burning E-waste produces lethal acid fumes, chlorine, and sulphur dioxide gas. Millions of tons of e-waste disappears from the developed world every year and continues to reappear in developing countries, despite international bans. Campaigners believe unscrupulous scrap merchants are illegally dumping millions of tonnes of dangerous waste on the developing world under the guise of exporting it for use in schools and hospitals.
Thousands of discarded computers from western Europe and the US arrive in the ports of west Africa every day, ending up in massive toxic dumps where children burn and pull them apart to extract metals for cash The consequences of e waste pollution include serious health problems such as respiratory diseases, neurological disorders, and leukaemia. A UN report declared that urgent action is needed to tackle the “mountains” of e-waste building up in developing nations.
Most new technology products require rare earth metals in their construction. Such metals are only found in a handful of countries. They are difficult to mine and almost impossible to extract through recycling processes. China has between 80-95% of the world’s rare earth elements and despite previously indicating that it would stop exporting most of these elements by 2012, continues to export. The repair and reuse of faulty equipment leads to a diminished need for the manufacture of brand new products which contain rare earth metals. Support for this view is given in the WEEE directives, which state that reuse of equipment is 20 times “greener” than recycling.
The Answer to the E-waste problem – Reuse, Repair and Recycle (The three Rs)
It is indeed possible to considerably extend the working life span of a network infrastructure.
Repairs and spares services such as Comtek enable equipment to be kept in good running order for as long as the customer wishes. This is not only good for IT budgets but also good for the environment.
Maintain rather than Replace IT infrastructure
Repair faulty electronic equipment instead of replacing
Purchase Tested & Warranted Refurbished Hardware
Remarket unwanted IT hardware for re-use rather than disposal
Recycle unusable IT equipment responsibly.