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4 Ways to Minimise Your E-Waste

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Electronics are often looked at, incorrectly, as consumable devices that are used for a period and then discarded. Because of this attitude, our old electronics pose a risk to the sustainability of our planet. We’re producing millions of tons of e-waste each year and not much of this is being properly recycled. Not properly processing e-waste can end up putting our most precious resources at risk, like our food and water, by leaking contaminants into the soil and groundwater. It is our responsibility to minimise e-waste. Here’s how.

Buy to Last

When it comes time to replace your computer or buy a new electronic device, take the time to properly research it and make sure you’re buying something that is correct for your use and is going to last. This means avoiding cheap electronics and opting instead for quality build and higher specifications. For example, make sure that if you have to buy laptops for school kids, they’re going to last a few years, with enough power for the more complex tasks in the coming grades.

You can also take steps to extend the life of your electronics by keeping them clean of dust and making sure that they have a protective case if they’re at risk of being damaged.

Think Before You Buy

Before you buy a new model of something you already own or replace any electronic devices, spend a moment thinking and re-evaluating the purchase. Ask yourself if you truly need the new device or if it’s just something you want. If you do need to replace it, look for trade-in programmes offered by many electronics manufacturers. Not only will you get a discount on your new purchase, but your old one will be refurbished or repurposed and continue to be used.

Before you buy, also look for the markers of environmentally friendly products. The Energy Star logo or certification by an environmental agency like the Electronic Environmental Assessment Tool are both good indicators.

Repurpose Your Electronics

Before you discard your electronic device, think about how it might be reused or repurposed. As an example, an old computer might be repurposed and used as a media center so that you don’t have to buy a set-top box. There are many creative ways to repurpose old electronics, and if you truly don’t have a use for them, you can always donate them to a local charity, hospital or non-profit.

Make Use of an E-Waste Facility

If your electronics truly have nothing more to offer, or if they’re faulty and need to be replaced, recycle them properly at an e-waste facility. Never just throw your electronics away with your normal trash. E-waste facilities will take your old electronics and harvest all the usable pieces from them, including recovering some rare earth minerals and components, and the rest will be properly recycled. You can find e-waste facilities in most areas, and some manufacturers also have e-waste recycling programmes.

It doesn’t take much for us to be more conscious and aware of how we handle our old electronics and make sure that we don’t add to the growing global e-waste problem.

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