E-Waste — the Toxic Legacy of our Digital Age

Countries, developed and developing alike, are faced with the flip side of development. Societies have adapted to technologies in big ways however the requisite awareness and legal framework needs to be spruced up in consonance with the fast pace fallout of technological residues that we are leaving behind. Some years back, the waste wasn’t much and was thought to have been easily assimilated in the environment. Today it poses a great challenge. The rapid penetration of the electronics and electrical gadgets in the huge markets of developing world and the steep pace of technological innovations making yesterday’s latest devices obsolete in the developed world. This has led to the problem of disposing off the e-waste responsibly in sync with the environment we live and for the future we look at.

“Update: ZeroWaste is now InstaCash

The innocuous looking gadgets that we use in our daily life contain elements and compounds which are very harmful to our well being. A broad categorization of these substances inimical to our health can be done as Halogenated Compounds, Heavy & other Metals and Radio Active substances.

Halogenated compounds like CFC (Choloroflourocarbon) PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyls) are present in Cooling units, insulation foams, cable insulations, fire retardants for plastics, condensers, transformers. Heavy metals like Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Lead, Lithium, Mercury, Nickel, Zinc Sulphide, and Selenium etc are found in CRTs, LEDs, rechargeable batteries, toners, power supply boxes etc. Radio Active substance like Americum is an integral part of medical equipments and fire detectors.

Today we find ourselves awfully placed. As we are making our lives easier and comfortable with the modern electrical and electronic gadgets yet on the other hand we are leaving a toxic legacy. If we do not wake up now, the future will not forgive us for our past. Join ZeroWaste movement in making a healthy and beautiful future.

Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.