Does your business have a stockpile of old computers, hard drives, media disks, printers and other IT equipment that need to be disposed of properly?
As digital devices become more and more a significant human need, the global volume of electronic waste is expected to grow 33% in the next four years; the Guardian points out the increase will weigh as much as eight Egyptian pyramids.
According to the UN's Step report, an initiative started to tackle the world's growing e-waste crisis, extending from old fridges to toys and even motorized toothbrushes that make electronic waste as the world's fastest growing waste stream.
Last year nearly 50m tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide – or about 7kg for every person on the planet. China generated 11.1m tonnes last year, followed by the US with 10m tonnes with significant difference per capita.
The wastes were made up of hundreds of different materials and containing toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and flame retardants. For example, an old-style CRT computer screen can contain up to 3kg of lead.
Once buried in a landfill, these toxic materials seep out into the environment, contaminating land, water, and the air.
Tehran Municipality has initiated a scheme to curb the environmental effects of e-wastes. The city called on the citizens to leave e-wastes at dedicated recycling kiosks so as to be disposed and accordingly recycled in an eco-friendly manner.
Also, instead of dumping e-wastes in their surroundings, Tehranis in District 6 are now able to dump them in the arranged e-waste translucent bins in the neighborhood.
Tehran Municipality has installed the bins at some places, including important electronic markets, where the e-wastes are generated more in quantity.
Households, companies, and other classes of people who have wastes of computers, monitors, cell phones, and batteries are appealed to dump such e-wastes in this particular way.
Additionally, the City works with local businesses, civic organizations, and government to provide education about proper equipment decommissioning.
The metropolis produces an unbelievable 55,000 tons of construction waste and debris every day, nearly six times more than the daily household waste, IRNA reported.
Reportedly, the Municipality had collected 15,787 kilograms of e-wastes in seven months only from District 10 and recently 4,700 kilograms just in one month in District 6, following the initiative.
A new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggests that the US discarded 258.2m computers, monitors, TVs and mobile phones in 2010, of which only 66% was recycled.
Most phones contain precious metals. The circuit board can contain copper, gold, zinc, beryllium, and tantalum, the coatings are typically made of lead and phone makers are now increasingly using lithium batteries.
In December 2015, Iranian researchers recycled electronic wastes by using biological methods to recover gold and copper.
They managed to recycle e-waste through a two-step process on the basis of bio-leaching procedures exploiting two indigenous bacteria in order to extract gold and copper during a simple, inexpensive and environmentally friendly method.
The method won an award and was applauded at Kharazmi Festival, in 2015.
Yet fewer than 10% of mobile phones are dismantled and reused in the world. Part of the problem is that computers, phones, and other devices are becoming increasingly complex and made of smaller and smaller components.
The environmental agencies always warn the growing volumes of e-waste, municipal waste, food waste, discarded chemicals, and counterfeit pesticides that are all having significant environment and economic impacts.
Through improper recycling of the wastes, habitants, living near landfills, suffer from eye damage, lung and back problems, chronic nausea, anorexia, debilitating headaches and respiratory problems, the Guardian reports.