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Sustainability Guides

The Link Between E-Waste and Health Issues

by Editorial Team at Spree in Sustainability Guides

21 May, 2018 (0) Comments

The Link Between E-Waste and Health Issues

"Planned Obsolescence" is a strategy used in product marketing that intentionally helps reduce the lifetime of a product. This means that your electronics are being built to last shorter and shorter periods of time. We have seen this being used in various industries from fashion to phones, a calculated behaviour change introduced and sustained by big business.

Why? Simply, so that they can sell more. 

When your friends are using the latest gen cellphone you feel like getting a new one too. Instead of taking it to the store to repair, you find excuses to just give it up. And that is exactly what the marketing giants want you to do - replace your products at a faster speed. 

There is only one problem with this. We aren't cleaning up the waste we are generating at the same rate that we are buying new products. Which essentially means a huge surplus of electronic waste. 44 million tonnes huge. 4500 times that of the volume of Eiffel tower and a distance from New York to Bangkok and back long.

So why should you care about the waste (other than generally feeling sympathy for the environment)? Because this very pollution is likely to reach your glass of water and the air your breathe.

Toxins from disposed of electronics like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chlorine and bromine, leak into the groundwater and bioaccumulate in the food chain causing detrimental damage to the soil, water supply, vegetation, animals and humans. For instance, exposure to lead can cause damage to the reproductive, blood and nervous systems. Mercury, used in the cell phone’s battery, contributes to brain and kidney damage. 

What You Can Do

1. Longer Warranty

For starters, buy products made from better materials and with a longer warranty period. Warranty ensures fixes at much lower costs. 

2. Care & Maintenance

Lack of maintenance is the number one cause of reduction of product life. Here are some tips to help you make your appliances and electronics last longer:

  • Use Regulators: Power surge can fry electronic appliances use proper regulators according to the user manuals.
  • Battery Replacement: To prevent damage from leaking batteries, always remove alkaline dead batteries from your devices.
  • Cleaning: Clean your gadgets on regular basis. Clean outside unit of Air conditioners, check the thermostat and replace air filters.
  • Damage Protection: Protect mobiles with a sturdy case to avoid breakage.
  • Unburden the functioning: Remove unnecessary apps or data to lower the risk of crashing and stalling of your electronic devices. Always switch off, shut down PCs after usage.
  • Avoid Sunlight Exposure: Don't expose gadgets to direct sunlight.


3. Responsible Disposal

Improper recycling is the top reason for soil and water contamination by electronic waste. If your electronics are in somewhat working condition, you can donate them, sell them or exchange them. Here is how you can do that.

  • Sell Your Used Electronics

Selling your used stuff on Olx, Quikr is a no-brainer. It is the best way to make some money out of used products and buy new ones. It also helps extend the life of these products and keeps them away from the dump yards.

A special mention to Gozefo. They are a professionally run online store for used products. They have a very simple process of selling. You can upload the details of the product you want to sell (from furniture to tv, mobile phones, laptops, they buy literally everything). Once they inspect the condition of the product, they will give you a quote. After you give your consent, they take care of everything - from picking up the product to an easy online payment. You can even buy fairly well-maintained products from them at a fraction of the original cost. From a sustainability point of view, we completely love that they are removing the taboo of using second-hand products from the mind of the Indian consumer.

  • Exchange Offers

Both Amazon and Flipkart run exchange offers on almost all electronics and large appliances. If nothing else works out, this is still a more responsible way of getting rid of your electronic waste. (Check out our collection of Green Appliances that come with an exchange offer on this link)

  • Recyclers

Lastly, there are a fair few recyclers who will pay a decent price for your used electronics. Cashify, for example, will give you a quote on phones, laptops, tablets, TVs, and gaming consoles. Depending on the condition of your product they will give a quote and arrange for a pickup. Atterobay specialises in mobile phones and do the same. They also pledge to plant a tree for every phone that is recycled through the Plant a Tree service. Karma Recycling also does the same. 

 

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