The Many Faces of Waste Problem in the COVID-19 Era
Poor waste management is one of the worst threats to the environment caused by human activities. Viruses like COVID-19 have increased the production of waste, creating new challenges around waste management. The top three wastes are medical, household trash, and e-waste:
As a result of stay-at-home policies and lockdowns, the need for preventative measures such as gloves, masks, sanitizers, thermometers, toilet paper, cleaning products, and food production has dramatically increased. Waste is growing every single day. Also, plastic pollution got worse by the spread of disposable masks and gloves, panic buying, and home delivery of items packaged in single-use plastic. Similarly, the amount of plastic waste generated by medical institutions is rising at an alarming rate.
The medical institutions generate hazardous wastes, radioactive wastes, pathological wastes, infectious wastes, cytotoxic wastes, chemical wastes, sharps wastes, and pharmaceutical waste during the pandemic. Furthermore, many reports are pointing to the concern over the increased production of medical garbage across the globe.
Electronic Waste and Security Threat
During COVID-19, remote working skyrocketed, and with it, technology equipment and consumer electronics increases in demand. Lockdown and social distancing meant everything, and everyone turned to the Internet. More organizations began work-from-home set-up and upgraded the electronic equipment. Digital devices and platforms were sought after by schools to facilitate distance learning. To stay in contact with one another, families and friends turned to apps on their smart devices. As ironic as it may seem, it became a top priority to source new technology to safeguard, distance, and protect people.
The extremely high demand for electronics due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced manufacturers to increase production which means increasing electronic waste that is hazardous materials will go to the landfill.
Along with the surge in digital technologies, we are now witnessing a rise in online fraud, scams, intrusions, and security breaches. The pandemic has created a space that is inviting fraudsters. They exploit by extracting money or information or by creating vulnerabilities.
We can learn from the COVID-19 era waste management crisis that waste management cannot be the same as before the pandemic. Globally, waste management is an essential public service that needs an urgent solution. This requires structural changes, better infrastructure and facilities, maintenance management software suites to handle operational challenges, and tools that enhance worker productivity and safety. These are some tips on what we can do about the global waste problem.
1. We can choose eco-friendly alternatives that can be reuse, eat homemade food instead of going out or utilizing food delivery, follow local waste and recycling policies and, of course, maintain proper hygiene at all times.
2. When these medical waste management systems are unavailable or overwhelmed due to capacity issues or overload, existing municipal waste management facilities can be used.
3. As we adopt the new way of living, let’s also be responsible for disposing of our unwanted electronics and other e-waste items. These are old computer equipment, copiers, fax machines, circuit boards, monitors, old cell phones, other electronic waste that contains toxic substances, and toxic metals. Our old tools may be tempting to repurpose, recycle, and resell, but this can be very dangerous to our security. But the question is, how do we find a local recycler? Urban E Recycling is an e-waste recycling facility that offers recycling solutions to your old electronics for free. The company has three locations currently; Tampa, Orlando, and Bradenton. Data destruction is free, and it uses a state-of-the-art mobile hard drive shredding service. Let us not add up toxic substances to the environment. Make sure your electronic waste is recycled properly. Schedule a free pick-up today and avail of the free recycling services from Urban E Recycling.