According to a U.N. backed study, there were about 45 million metric tons of electronic waste worldwide in 2016. With the constant manufacture of new devices, that figure is bound to be higher this year.
Is this, therefore, the end of the world? Not if you are buying refurbished computers. Here are the five environmental benefits they provide:
1. Reduces the Impact of Labour and Production
First, manufacturing creates many bad by-products. These include waste, air pollutants, and water pollutants. The large size and cost of labor use a lot of energy.
Constant production and use create a demand for newer products. This leads to the overuse of energy during assembly, creation, and shipping. Overusing energy increases the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
2. Prevents Toxins from Seeping into the Environment
Computers contain several toxic components. Examples include lead, chromium, cadmium, and brominated flame-retardants.
Lead can cause anemia, brain damage, or death. Cadmium can cause lung damage or death if it leaks into the air. Chromium, on the other hand, causes allergic reactions and liver damage.
When discarded computers end up in landfills, they can devastate the environment. This is by seeping into the soil and contaminating the water. These affect plant and animal life, which can be dangerous when consumed by humans.
3. Lowers the Amount of Electronic Waste
Making products 24/7 increases the amount of electronic waste in landfills. Sadly, it raises the risk of toxins and chemicals spreading. For example, rainwater might mix with these chemicals and spread them.
As a result, it will contaminate the groundwater and affect animal and human life.
4. Decreases Demand for Parts and Raw Materials
Refurbished computers reduce the demand for new parts and more raw materials. This means no mining or destroying habitats while searching for rare raw materials.
5. Eliminates the Negative Effects of Recycling
You might not have heard this, but recycling can harm the environment as well. It leads to the overuse of energy and the spread of pollutants as electronic waste breaks down.
Recycling can also be inefficient. This will lead to more waste and chemicals left to harm the environment.