Why is electronic waste a huge problem around the world?
Electronic waste or e-waste is a problem that needs to be addressed. Electronic rubbish often winds up in unregulated or mismanaged piles of waste across the world, which results in the slow leaking of corrosive chemicals into soil and water. This affects the local ecosystems and potentially drinking water too.
Mobile phones also consist of precious and rare metals. A single phone may contain an almost negligible quantity of these precious metals, however, when a huge amount of electronic waste is considered the total amount of resources that get wasted turns out to be a huge number. It is thought that around 70 percent of all heavy metals in USA landfills come from mobile phones.
The problem of Dumping
When you donate or recycle your phone, it is a possibility that parts could wind up in unregulated dumping sites. Some companies ship waste abroad, mostly to China and the global south. Former CNET reporter Jay Greene investigated the fate of used-up iPhones during a trip to China. E-waste has had a severe impact on China and other countries in the Global South. Recent international laws have attempted to regulate the movement of such waste as toxic waste.
The first recycling company for mobile phones – fonebak – was founded in 2002. The recycling of mobile phones falls under the WEEE (WEEE Ireland) directive. Most of the phone manufacturers also uphold the Basel Convention which outlines environmental end-of-life management for mobile phones.