The debate about the importance of environmental conservation is unending. Governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) continue to warn of the depletion of the ozone layer. Other concerns also include the need to conserve the environment through better utilization of resources and the reduction of landfills through recycling.
Companies have taken important steps in complying with environmental regulations. Apart from manufacturing tech gadgets that consume less energy such as LED bulbs and TVs, companies are now manufacturing gadgets that use renewable energy sources like solar energy. Today, there are keyboards designed for Apple computers, which are solar powered. Philips also has solar powered remote control systems for their LED TVs. Additionally, alternative materials have also been adopted for use in manufacturing, for instance the use of bamboo for the manufacture of keyboards.
With companies doing their part to achieve revenue and sustainability simultaneously, the responsibility now remains with the consumer. Given that one cannot do without these gadgets, and because they all have a lifespan, the best strategy for dealing with electronic wastes is through reduction, reuse and recycling.
- The reduction of electronic waste can be achieved through purchasing quality gadgets with longer lifespan and high levels of repairability
- Reuse can be achieved through donating or reselling the electronic equipment that is still functioning and which the owner no longer needs
- Recycling is done for products which are damaged beyond repair, or whose repairability is low. There are organizations which specialize in the management of electronic waste and they are able to channel them to recyclers. The handling of e-waste, however ought to be done with caution because of the presence of mercury vapor, lead, cadmium, beryllium and flame retardant dust. One can however use the following personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with e-waste:
- Sturdy gloves to protect the hands
- Disposable gloves that are chemical resistant to protect the skin
- Safety glasses to protect the eyes
- Coverall to protect clothing and skin and
- Respirator to protect against fumes and dusts that may be harmful