– Lane Simond:
We have always been consumers, but many retail experts will argue that consumerism really began following the introduction of the television. While the first TV set was invented in 1920, it wasn’t until 1951 that the average household discovered the medium. Today, the level of consumerism promoted through television shows and commercials has been amplified by the worldwide web. We have more access to more products and services than ever before. The problem with this is that our consumerism is killing the planet.
When we just look at electronics and how quickly a device becomes outdated, it is easy to imagine how much waste accumulates. Electronics are among the biggest contributors to soil pollution and roughly 80 per cent of the items buried in dumps could be recycled according to Rubicon, a leading provider of digital waste solutions for business and governments around the world.
As we go about our day-to-day lives, we generally don’t stop to think about how each of our actions and purchases might impact the environment. Here’s a look at some hard facts just about electronic waste to keep in mind.
- 3 billion mobile phones have been thrown away this year. To put it in perspective, that’s 31,000 miles of phones. Many of these phones could be repaired and reused.
- 27 million tons of small electronics like toasters, camera’s, electric toothbrushes, and vapes have been tossed out in 2022, but only 17 per cent will be recycled.
- 81 million tons of waste from tablets, computers, and washing machines will be thrown away by 2030.
- Volatile supply chains have led to a 500 per cent increase in the cost of lithium, which is needed for batteries. Most lithium batteries end up in landfill, thus jeopardizing the soil and groundwater. Sparta Group in concert with researchers at the University of Ottawa is trying to develop a safe, effective way to recycle lithium-ion batteries.
- 57 billion dollars’ worth of gold is hidden in our e-waste.
- If one million laptops were recycled instead of being tossed into landfills, enough energy would be saved to power 3,500 homes.
- Recycling electronic waste could significantly reduce the need to mine new materials for the creation of the latest, greatest gadgets.
- Many retail stores collect and recycle electronics regardless of where they were originally purchased.
If you have read this far, thank-you. It is important to know these facts – our soil, our air, our drinking water and our marine life depend on us paying attention to what consuming does.
Sources: ABC News, International Electronic Waste Recycling Experts, Rubicon.com.