Technology Is Moving Fast, and Obsolete Gadgets Multiply Rapidly
The high-tech arms race has been going for some time now. You know the story: you buy a brand spanking new computer or mobile device, and it begins to seem antiquated, nearly as soon as you get it home. Most of us stick it out and try to get the most out of our devices for as long as possible, but as time passes, those shiny new gadgets get more and more enticing. Eventually, we surrender and cough up the cash for the hot new thing. How often?
Well, Moore’s Law is the observation that computing power tends to double approximately every two years, and as it happens, most of us replace our mobile devices just about on schedule with Moore’s Law. Many of us replace our laptops, desktops, and portable music players every two to three years. So, what happens to all of yesterday’s hot new tech things?
Where Used or Outmoded Technology Tends to End Up
Some tech gadgets resold, and some are recycled, but a vast majority end up as e-waste. In fact, 20 to 50 million tons of electronic gadgets and gizmos are thrown away each year, worldwide. To put that into perspective, the largest of the Great Pyramids weighs in at about 6 million tons. Multiply the Great Pyramid of Cheops by nine, and you start to get a sense of the seriousness of this side-effect of our tech addiction.
You might think, “Wow. Our old gadgets are taking up a lot of space, but the world is a big place, with plenty of places to hide things.” Well, e-waste not only takes up space, but it also contains a host of toxic chemicals, such as arsenic, barium, chromium, mercury, dioxins, and lead. These poisons can end up in our air, water, and soil, if our devices are not properly disposed of. They have their uses in electronics, but but they can cause dire health consequences for those exposed to them. They can cause cancer, birth defects, paralysis, or even death.
Solutions to the E-Waste Epidemic
So, what can you do to help stop e-waste from becoming an even bigger problem? First, buy quality electronics that you know will last. Second, take good care of the electronics you purchase, in order to extend their lifespan. Third, when you can’t resist the upgrade bug, resell, donate, or recycle your old electronics.
Make sure you recycle through a reputable, Basel Action Network-approved recycler, though. There are many unscrupulous companies trying to make a quick buck by posing as recyclers.
[Photo Via: globalpharmasectornews.com]