Here are some more general solutions and advice for handling E-Waste beyond the ones stated in the “Handling E-Waste” tab. These can be done by anyone at the community level.
- Form Recycling Communities - Many people often feel guilty about not recycling things in general, not just E-Waste, but it’s just too much effort for most to go the extra distance to make sure that E-Waste is handled correctly. Try meeting with others in your community and make arrangements to have a drop off site for E-Waste, which will then be picked up by recycling organizations. This way, there will be an official place for disposal that is not out of the way.
- Recycle (with caution) - The traditional mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” still applies to E-Waste. However, what many people don’t know is that some recycling companies that handle E-Waste don’t “properly” take care of it. Instead, they export it to developing countries for dismantling and disposal. The methods used in these countries for disposal can cause environmental problems, so be sure to ask your local recycling center how they dispose of the E-Waste.
- Involve the Schools - At the next PTA meeting, petition for a way to handle E-Waste. Propose for the creation of an E-Waste drive where students and families can hand in old, unused electronics to be handled by the school. This would allow for proceeds to go to the benefit of the school, increase awareness, and allow for the proper disposal of E-Waste.
- Reduce Consumerism - Band together with the community to emphasize the effects of E-Waste. Make sure that people understand the dangers of the chemicals involved, and help create an atmosphere that is less susceptible to consumerism. Ultimately, E-Waste becomes a smaller problem when people are not clamoring for the newest technological fad.
- Buy “Green Products” - As consumers in a growing technological society, it’s impossible to avoid the necessities of a PC, phone, etc. However, what you can do to help is look out for products that are certified as being environmentally friendly. You’ll see the green “reduce, reuse, recycle” insignia to signify this. For example, most macbooks are certified to be eco-friendly.
- Social Media Empowerment - The Internet is banding together different parts of the world in all new ways, such as through social media. Connect with others who are concerned about the disposal of E-Waste and share ideas. Maybe something that worked in their community can also work in yours and vice-versa. Additionally, raising awareness is key, and social media is a great way to do that.
- Learn Proper E-Care - One of the main problems involved with E-Waste is the limited lifetime of electronics. Many people don't consider themselves "tech-savvy", so they don’t take proper care of their technology. However, it doesn’t take a computer genius to learn about basic caring techniques such as battery life management, using cases to protect devices, etc.
While we listed some local solutions above, it’s obvious that there are many more options available to you to take action. Here are a couple more useful websites and organizations that can help you follow through on some local solutions. It’s important to remember that while improper disposal of E-Waste is a global problem, it is one of the few problems where local solutions are imperative.
- Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool: This is a website built to help consumers compare electronics in terms of their environmental qualities. Affiliated manufacturers are rated with a bronze, silver, or gold ranking based on how environmentally friendly their products are.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: This website is managed by the US government, and it is concerned with all around environmental issues, not just E-Waste.
- World Health Organization: The WHO is an international organization concerned with dangers to human health. Since E-Waste is not only an environmental problem but also a human health problem, it is naturally addressed by this organization.
- E-Waste Guide: Here is a website that is dedicated to the recycling of E-Waste. Not only does it have directions for how to recycle E-Waste, but it also has a comprehensive diagram of the recycling laws by state jurisdiction.
- E-Cycling Central: This site helps you find recycling centers in your nearby area to make it easier to recycle E-Waste.