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What to do with your e-Waste

What to do with your e-Waste

Jul 30, 2014

The term e-Waste refers to consumer electronic devices and gadgets that are at the end of its useful life, including discarded or obsolete cell phones and computers. With the consumerisation of IT, the volume of discarded e-products are rising at an alarming rate.

According to Causes International, the volume of discarded electronic products will be 33% higher than it is today – and weigh the equivalent of eight of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. This is not only a problem for the developed world, but for developing nations as well, particularly India.

Dumping electronics in landfills are not ideal and are in fact, banned, in some countries, because the items contain substances such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and brominated flame retardants which can lead to health problems if burned or leeched into the soil.

Aware of this problem, 68% of consumers tend to stockpile their old electronics rather than dumping them.

“What many consumers don’t know is that there is still a lucrative market for their old electronics,” says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Marketing, Gumtree South Africa. “39,1% of visitors to online classifieds are going there to buy second hand electronics, which means you will easily find a way of turning your old goods into cash.”

Cobbledick says that many buyers are happy to take on items that others would consider outdated. “Old tablets, feature phones and laptops are still popular and the site may be the only way individuals can afford those items.”

Alternatively, Cobbledick suggests that individuals use “freecycling” if they do not want to sell their items. “Rather than throw your items away or keep them in a drawer, hand them to someone who really needs it. Even if it’s in poor condition, someone will be able to refurbish the item and get a good use out of it.”

Even old computer monitors and televisions are in high demand. “You might not want your old 386 from the early nineties, but some innovative upcyclists are turning these items into funky fish tanks and the like!” says Cobbledick. “Freecycling or upcycling is more environmentally friendly way to keep these items out of the landfill.”

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