Environmental Threat: Recycling
Recycling has been identified as one of the solutions to the growing environmental threat especially in terms of waste management. Environmentalist calculates that around 60% of the world waste materials could be recycled which would greatly reduce the waste pollution. (Environmental-Green.org) Recycling can have a big impact on the earth’s resources and waste management.
Environmentalists have been campaigning for the use recycled or eco-friendly materials. Different organizations had put up centers that help people to earn while recycling. Companies, have also resort to recycling to improve their consumption of resources. The world wide campaign on recycling have been extensive that almost all aspects have somewhat made some effort to recycle but the effort has not been enough.
Recycling of electronic materials in particular is encouraged. Anything that uses electricity either from batteries or current at home is considered electronic materials or e-waste. An environmental challenge has risen recently because of the growing dependence of both companies and household to electronic materials. Based on the statistics of US EPA, electronic waste is the fastest growing with a growth rate of 3 times more compared to other waste materials. (ADCOM Health and Science Inc)
Recycling of electronic devices has been widespread from the last years. Instead of throwing electrical devices, they turn these unusable electronic materials into usable things. For instance, glass, copper, aluminum or plastic components of these e-wastes can be extracted and recycled into something useful. However, there are dangers that come with recycling these materials.
Disposing and recycling of e-wastes has raised some issues due to the hazardous contents of some electronic materials. Recycling entails careful consideration of the materials in used and the proper disposal of specific parts which contains hazardous materials. Because of the fast growing rate of e-waste, almost 70% of the landfills contain heavy metals where almost half of it contains lead, a high toxic material. The TV monitors for instance can contain big moderate amount of lead which is harmful for the environment especially to the health of nearby residents
Electrical materials can contain toxic and hazardous materials such as lead, arsenic and mercury. Recyclers can receive direct exposure to these hazardous materials and could be a source of health problems. The community and the surrounding environment could be put to risk. A study conducted by the Environmental Science and Technology found out that recycling workshops contain high levels of these hazardous materials. Another problem found is that, not only the workshops are contaminated but also the nearby streets and homes pose higher content of these.
Because of the several dangers posed by e-waste recycling, manufacturers of specific e-waste has put up programs that accepts their e-wastes and process these free of charge. Retailer and donation programs has also been set up so people with e-waste can go to a retailer store and sell their e-waste there or donate it instead of trying to recycle them themselves which pose health hazards because they do not know the contents of those materials of throw them into dump trucks to be used in landfills. There are also available government sponsored e-waste donation and recycling programs.
Before bringing the e-waste to the desired way disposal, it is important to ensure that the recycler is certified and follows the set of standards for recycling these e-wastes. Recycler must provide high safety protection both the workers and for the environment. An e-waste must be prepared first before bringing it to a recycling institution. For example, data on computers must be fully erased first before bringing them to a waste disposal institution to avoid any untoward access to your files.
If proper procedures and safe disposal of e-waste would not be properly observe, then there is a high risk of giving more problems to the environment and making the living place of people more dangerous than helping the environment get rid of the threats.
A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found out that recycling is not that simple. It may look simple but sometimes recycling could entail the use more energy and resources. Although generally, recycling is beneficial to the environment, it needs to be carried out properly to be true to its purpose of saving the environment and further harming the already wounded environment that we have.
“Recycling Facts and the Benefits of Recycling”. Environment Green. Retrieved 27 February 2012 from http://www.environment-green.com/
Gutierrez, David (2007) “Coca-cola to build plastics recycling plant in effort to appear more green”. Natural News. com. Retrieved 27 February 2012 from http://www.naturalnews.com/022109_Coca-Cola_recycling.html
ADCOM Health and Science Inc (2012) “How to Recycle Elecronic Materials”. Retrieved 27 February 2012 from http://adcombhs.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/recycle.html