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The Importance of Teaching Students About Proper eWaste Disposal

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Please Teach Your Students How Important it is for Electronic Waste to be Recycled Properly

Do you have any idea how much electronic waste is littering refuse dumps or being shipped overseas where it is often stripped apart by people who are seriously risking their health and polluting their surrounding environment?

A cell phone that is brand new and useful today to the average student may seem old, outdated and useless tomorrow. With the continuously expanding market of mobile devices and computers, it seems as if most students (and the rest of us) are eager to get rid of the old gadgets once they have purchased upgrades. Unfortunately, most of them don’t know how to properly dispose of these unwanted electronics – a common problem that is experienced by millions of people around the world.

This video shows how electronic waste is being processed in China in ways that are highly hazardous to the environment and to people's health. This same thing is going on in numerous other countries as well.

The Proof is in the Numbers

The average student might not think twice about throwing away their old cell phone or computer simply because of not looking at the big picture. Like many of us, they probably pay attention to what they are throwing away personally with little awareness of how much is being disposed of on a much larger scale.

Every year within the United States alone, there are over 20 million televisions and 100 million cell phones that are thrown directly in the trash, according to Money Crashers. A study conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency shows that more than 112,000 computers are disposed of on a daily basis – adding up to over 41 million desktops and laptops.

The Truth about Current eWaste Disposal

A statistic that is even more saddening than the number of electronics that are disposed of incorrectly each day is the relatively low percentage of electronic waste that is disposed of properly – only about 13 percent. Why is this such an alarming figure? In order to answer that, you need to first examine what happens to that disposed waste.

There is a host of hazardous chemicals found within electronic waste – including brominated flame retardants, cadmium, mercury and lead. By not disposing of these items properly, we are running the risk of drastically damaging the environment through air pollution, soil contamination, etc. The lethal toxicity that can emit from the water that picks up these different elements and contaminants at local landfills is another serious hazard.

eWaste Disposal Done Right

How exactly can electronic waste be disposed of properly? What steps can your students take no now in order to minimize and even eliminate these types of environmental problems in the future?

  • Sell Electronic Waste as Used Goods

One of the most efficient and feasible ways of getting rid of your electronic waste is to sell it. Thanks to the Internet and the increasing popularity of eCommerce, you can easily sell a wide variety of goods and services to people all over the world. For example, your students can start selling their used electronics hardware by creating an online store by using platforms such as Shopify for example, which itself deals in all kinds of hardware such as POS systems, barcode scanners and other such stuff which will allow them to sell their used electronics at a fixed rate. The same tip can also be used by businesses to sell-off their old hardware which are typical to any business like receipt printers, POS systems and barcode scanners. Selling off your old hardware will not only help students, but also help reduce the overall carbon footprint, which is definitely a right step towards saving the planet.

They could also sell the products through online auctions, making them available for purchase by competitive bidders worldwide. As the old saying goes, one man's junk is another man's treasure. Even though your students might not be able to recover all of the money they spent by selling their electronic waste, something is a lot better than what they would have received if they didn't sell it – nothing.

  • Donate Electronic Goods to Local Charities

There is a number of charitable organizations in your local area that accept donated goods – including electronic waste. Taking the time to do a little research in order to find the most convenient locations that specifically accept electronic goods and products can really pay off in a big way in the long run, according to Women's Conference.

For instance, you might be able to deduct the value of these charitable donations from your yearly tax returns. You can also rest assured in knowing that what you would have thrown away as trash is actually being used by people that needed it more than you.

  • Take All Waste to a Recycling Center

Instead of being too quick to throw away your electronic waste into the nearest garbage can or dumpster, another proper way to dispose of these goods is by delivering them to a local recycling center. The official website of your local government should be able to provide you with an extensive list of options from which you may choose in your nearby area.

Quite a few electronic retailers even have recycling centers and programs of their own that offer incentives and rewards to customers that decide to offer their goods to them. Before getting involved with any of these centers, according to Organic Authority, you should make sure that they are legitimate by researching their organization first.

Millions of electronic devices and systems are improperly thrown away each year. You need to make sure that your students understand three things – (1) how much damage they are causing to their environment by doing so, (2) how much easier it can be for them to dispose of that waste properly and (3) how much money they can potentially make by selling these goods instead of rushing to throw them away.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
10 Reasons Why Schools Should Be Teaching Financial Literacy To Our Kids
Worried about Students Searching the Web Safely? 8 Safe Search Engines for Kids
Teaching Kids Fire Safety and Prevention Awareness with Resources from NFPA

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