Human communities benefit from technology. Inventions and human-engineered materials have improved human survival and quality of life. Technology allows us to live comfortably in harsh habitats. It also helps us produce large quantities of food and transport food, goods. Throughout each day and night, members of human communities consume oxygen, water, and food and produce waste. We use energy for transportation, heating and cooling, and to power businesses and industries. We interact with biotic and abiotic elements for survival, just as other living things do. When we are developing new technologies to improve our lives, we do not always stop to consider what impact they will have on the other biotic elements in our ecosystem or the abiotic elements in the environment in general.
Taking Out the E-Trash:
Modern electronics are very popular. The technologies used in these products are always changing. New features are added. Products get smaller and easier to use, and consumers want to get the newest version. It has been estimated that Canadians throw out 1450 tonnes of cell phones alone in a year. Computers, cameras, game systems, and music players add to the pile .Electronic products contain plastic and metals such as aluminium, copper, gold, iron, lead, mercury, steel, and zinc. None of these materials can be broken down by decomposers. What should be done with all this waste?
These are some of the alternatives:
(a) Donating the product to someone else
(b) Sending the product to landfill
(c) Incinerating the product
(d) Recycling in a foreign country
(e) Requesting the manufacturer to take the old
We’ve been recycling products in one way or another for thousands of years; it’s just that in recent decades the concept of ‘disposable goods’ has reached all time highs and the topic of ‘conservation’ is paramount. What is new is the need to adapt recycling methods and behaviors to keep up with our lifestyles and technological advancements.
One thing is certain electronic waste is with us to stay. And it’s likely to continue increasing in volume. “A serious challenge we are facing is that refurbishing and reuse of computers and televisions, while desirable and encouraged, just delays the ultimate disposal problem.”