Hiding in plain sight
A global association focused on electronic waste management issued a reminder about products that consumers fail to recognize as e-waste. As a result, people dispose of a wide range of familiar, everyday products improperly.
October 14 is the Annual International E-Waste Day. This year, members of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum based in Brussels took a hard look at “invisible” electronic waste. This category of e-scrap addresses products consumers simply throw away, not realizing that they will likely end up in landfills, common dumping grounds that release hazardous gases and other toxic substances. The WEEE, composed of 52 global organizations, believes that consumers worldwide have no idea that as much as one-six of all electronic waste accumulates annually. In addition, lithium batteries are present in a good portion of this e-waste and pose a fire hazard when casually discarded.
About “invisible” e-waste
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) operates under the United Nations General Assembly. It is responsible for strengthening and disseminating knowledge about specific global issues that affect human development and welfare. In support of International E-Waste Day, UNITAR prepared global data that clarified “invisible” e-waste. The list included:
- Small IT equipment such as mice, keyboards, USB sticks, and routers
- Small consumer electronics, including headphones and TV remote controls
- Small LED and incandescent lighting items
- Household tools such as saws, drills, high-pressure washers and lawnmowers
- Household medical equipment
- E-toys, including music toys, electric trains, and car-racing sets
- Household monitoring equipment such as alarms and smoke detectors
What to do
Becoming more aware of the kinds of everyday items that should be included in the “invisible waste” category is the first step in keeping e-waste out of landfills and helping protect humans, animals, and the environment. Think about the electronic devices and e-related items we often use that hide in plain sight. What will we do with them when they come to the end of their lives or just need to be replaced? One good option is to turn them over to Urban E-Recycling, where professionals can dispose of them properly. It’s a great way to help care for the planet, the environment, and each other.