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How electronic devices affect the environment

Therefore, it is of vital importance for the protection of people’s health and the care of the environment, the Supreme Decree No. 009-2019-Minam promulgated this Friday, November 8, which approves the Special Regime for the Management and Handling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).

In this sense, the San Marquino professor specified that the main objective of this special regime is to reduce the amount of waste to minimize the danger of contamination and, rather, to reuse them given that they have a potential value.

The regulation mainly establishes the institutional framework for the management and handling of WEEE, with the Ministry of the Environment (Minam) as the leading entity; the Environmental Evaluation and Control Agency (OEFA) as the body in charge of supervising and controlling the handling of WEEE in the valorization plants; and the sectorial work carried out by the different ministries such as the Ministry of Transport and Communications, which is in charge of telecommunications; or Produce, which is in charge of imports of electrical and electronic equipment.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment

The first of these would be reuse. Some of the packaging waste we generate in our homes is easily reusable. One of the clearest examples are the glass jars that we can use again and again to preserve products different from the one they contained when we bought them.

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In this way, packaging waste can be recycled, that is, transformed back into useful things, as long as they receive the necessary management. For this to be possible, it is essential that each type of packaging is deposited separately.

To collaborate in the recycling process of packaging waste, we can find in our towns and cities different types of containers where to deposit separately this waste.

Glass items such as glasses, cups, china type items such as plates, vases, cups and other items such as light bulbs, windows, mirrors, car windows, glass tables, etc., should not be deposited in the igloo.

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

Electronic devices and electrical equipment define modern life: from washing machines and vacuum cleaners to smartphones and computers, it is hard to imagine life without them. However, the waste they generate has become an obstacle to the EU’s efforts to reduce its ecological footprint.

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Less than 40% of all WEEE in the EU is recycled, and the rest is unsorted. Recycling practices vary from one Member State to another: in 2017, 81.3% of all WEEE was recycled in Croatia, while in Malta the recycling rate was 20.8%.

Discarded electrical and electronic equipment contains potentially harmful materials that pollute the environment and put those involved in WEEE recycling at greater risk. To address this problem, the EU adopted rules aimed at avoiding the use of certain chemicals, such as lead.

Many rare minerals needed for modern technology come from countries that do not respect human rights. To avoid unwittingly supporting armed conflicts and human rights violations, Members of the European Parliament gave the green light to rules requiring European importers of rare earth minerals to check the background of their suppliers.

How to recycle electronic devices

Technology evolves by leaps and bounds, and the speed of appearance of more powerful equipment, with more features and better usability characteristics, is so great that our equipment, in perfect working order, become, from one day to another, technological waste.

This equipment, now obsolete, has become a waste that we must treat properly, because if they are not disposed of properly they can become dangerous for us and for the environment.

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There are other non-commercial options, such as the Tragamóvil Foundation (Foundation for the Environmental Management of Telephony and Communications Equipment), with clear environmental objectives:

Another option? Take our electronic devices to the nearest Punto Limpio to your home.  In these places, you can dispose of other devices such as cameras, tablets, computers… with complete peace of mind.

Although chargers and batteries have evolved technically, their toxicity, although lower, is still high. Almost 30% of the weight of batteries is made up of toxic materials such as Mercury, Cadmium, Nickel, Manganese, Lithium and Zinc.