Although at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, coal, methane and CO2 took the spotlight, there was a deafening silence around the fastest solid waste stream in the world- technology.
FREMONT, CA:Issues on Coal, methane, and CO2 dominated during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2021. However, there was a deafening silence about the world's fastest expanding solid waste stream technology. In 2019 alone, the world produced 53.6 million tonnes of garbage or around 16 pounds per person. In the same year, only 17 percent of the electronic waste was recycled and the rest was transported to a landfill or sent overseas, often to underdeveloped countries, where mercury, arsenic and lithium are left to seep into the earth. On the other hand data-bearing devices containing sensitive information are at a risk of being discovered and exploited.
Consumer recycling of cardboard and plastic has become so common that ignoring E-waste recycling seems unimaginable. With each new technological innovation, electronic garbage, which contains precious metals, toxic chemicals, and sensitive data, continues to make its way to the trash. 2022 must be made as the year for mainstream technology recycling as natural resources are continuing to deplete and more privacy breaches and data protection regulations are established.
Millions of phones, tablets, and computers are unwrapped on Christmas Day all over the world and over 2.5 million tonnes of electronic equipment are added to the total. By 2030, the total amount of electronic waste is anticipated to be redoubled. It is quite obvious that this growing waste stream has to be recycled, yet only 5 percent of the people agree to recycle their devices.
When objects are simply thrown away, they are left to be consumed by our ecosystem. While the Earth is highly efficient in decomposing organic materials such as dead animals, fallen trees, and food leftovers, it is unable to absorb the highly processed metals and synthetic compounds required by today's technology. Smartphones hold hazardous substances like mercury, lead and even arsenic. At the bottom of landfills, these poisonous compounds degrade into sludge, which eventually seeps into the wider ecosystem. People and corporations must begin to consider e-waste as a type of hazardous trash that must be properly disposed of and paid for.