A Comprehensive Essay on Electronic waste

Electronic waste refers to various forms of discarded electronic equipment. These are the unwanted, or obsolete (outdated) electronic products which have reached the end of their shelf life. These include the discarded electronic products such as parts of computers, mobiles and so on. 

The world produces 50 million tonnes of e-waste per year, according to 2019 LIN.  According to the report, only 20% of this e-waste is formally recycled or recycled informally in developing countries.

Sources of electronic waste

There are a number of different sources of e-waste such as waste generated from the products used for data processing such as:

  • Computers, computer devices like monitors, speakers, keyboards, printers, etc.
  • TV, DVDs and CD players equipment or devices for communication like phones, landlines etc. 
  • Household equipment like vacuum cleaners, washing machines, air conditioners that have become old 
  • Outdated electronic items like VCR, stereo, big monitors etc.

Effects of electronic waste

These have many harmful effects on humans, animals and our environment. Some of the effects of e-waste are as follows:

  • Electronic devices use potentially harmful metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, alium, beryllium, etc. When dumped into the landfills, these metals release harmful toxins that may reach from the soil into the environment. This causes health issues to animals and humans. There are chances that the chemicals from e-wastes may percolate into the ground resulting in land and water pollution. 
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers are the important chemicals that cause birth-defects, kidney, liver, heart and skeletal system damage. 
  • Exponents of e-waste have dangerous side effects. These toxins have a deteriorating effect on the nervous and productive systems of the human body.
  • The hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are causative agents of ozone depletion. These toxins bioaccumulate in air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines. They are a threat to the food chains and cause a serious threat to all species on the planet. 

E-waste Control

Recycling is the best method to control e-waste.  Recycling of e-waste takes place in 3 major steps. These steps are:


To ensure safe disposal or recycling of e-waste, detoxification takes place for the electronic materials. Detoxification is the process of remo critical components from the e-waste in order to avoid contamination with substances during the downstream processes. Critical components include lead refrigerators, light bulbs and batteries.


In this method, electronic materials are broken into pieces to obtain concentrates of recyclable materials in a dedicated fraction and also to separate hazardous material. 

The mechanical processing plants where shred takes place include shredders, crushing units, magnetic and eddy current and sepurators. The gasses are filtered and residues are treated to environmental impact.


Next step of e-waste recycling is refining of the shredded materials to obtain reusable components. Refining of resources in e-waste is possible and technical solutions exist to get back raw material with minimum environmental impacts. 

Other Ways of electronic waste Management

The rampantly growing environmental footprint of the e-waste is indeed a worry. It is the responsibility of both the consumers and producers to manage the e-waste. 

A Comprehensive Essay on Electronic waste

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Some of the suggested ways of e-waste management are as follows; 

  • Most of the electronic material has a certain amount of reusable associated with it. This reusable component includes metals such as copper, aluminum, lead, gold, silver and iron etc. Experts should extract these materials safely from the waste material.
  • Instead of throwing them away, donate them to the needy people.  
  • Instead of throwing away the e-wastes, we should sell them as scrap materials. 
  • The producers can enter the recycling chain by providing a collection service and a repurchase offer less than that of the unorganized sector. 
  • Government should encourage the people to get the defunct gadgets and electronic items out of their house. 
  • Many companies like Dell, Apple and HP have started various recycling schemes. The concept of three R’s is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. This concept can play a significant role in e-waste management.
  • The formal and informal sector should work together in order to provide better e-waste management. 

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