Savvy Earth Savers
E-Waste

Smart, responsible tactics for getting rid of unwanted laptops, phones, and more

We love our devices—our TVs, laptops, tablets, and perhaps most of all, our mobile phones, those pocket-sized miracles of computing power. In fact, Gartner, a tech research company, estimated that 1.5 billion cell phones were bought in 2017. That’s around one for every five people alive.

But unless they're traded in for a new device, each of those gadgets eventually reaches the end of its useful life and becomes electronic waste. And that's a problem. A United Nations study reported that 44.7 million tons of e-waste was discarded in 2016, and only 20 percent of it was disposed of properly.

We can do something to reduce our e-waste footprint, though. Many of the materials used in making these products can be recovered and reused, including plastics, glass, and metal. Ask Apple: The company says it re-captured 2,204 pounds of gold—worth $40 million—from recycled devices in 2015.

Unfortunately, electronics products can also contain toxic substances, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, which all must be disposed of carefully. 

First, make sure to completely erase all personal information. Once that's done, here are your options.

1. Donate It

If your used gadget still works—or, in many cases, even if it doesn’t—there’s probably a charity or nonprofit out there that would be happy to take it off your hands. You can start by checking local senior organizations and recreation centers. 

WEEE·PARK refurbishes some serviceable electrical appliances for donation to people in need for reuse, promoting a loving and caring community while going green. Refurbished appliances available for donation include refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and televisions.

2. RECYCLE IT 

In HONG KONG. 

The Producer Responsibility Scheme on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WPRS) covering the eight types of regulated electrical equipment (REE) (including air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, computers, printers, scanners and monitors) came into effect in 2018 and marks another important milestone in Hong Kong's waste reduction and recycling efforts. Through the WPRS, relevant waste electrical and electronic equipment must be directed to licensed recycling facilities for proper treatment and recycling, turning waste into resources, thus offering a long term solution to potential land contamination and environmental problems arising from mishandling during transfer, storage and dismantling processes.

To underpin the WPRS, a Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Treatment and Recycling Facility (WEEE·PARK) developed by the Government has commenced its operation since October 2017. The annual design processing capacity of WEEE·PARK is 30,000 tonnes of regulated WEEE, which adopts advanced technologies to turn regulated WEEE into valuable secondary raw materials through a series of detoxification, dismantling and recycling processes. 

Statutory Free Removal Service

The WPRS provides a convenient recycling channel for the proper collection of used equipment requiring disposal. Upon purchase of a new REE item, members of the public are entitled to a statutory free removal service arranged by the seller to collect a used item of the same class. For details, please contact REE sellers.

Community Green Stations (CGSs)

All CGSs accept waste electrical and electronic equipment for which will be transferred to suitable recyclers for handling.  Please click here for details of the CGSs.

E-waste Collection Vehicle

The e-waste collection vehicle stations in 18 districts at Saturdays and Sundays on a roster basis to collect e-waste from the public. There are also collection station, education and publicity activities to introduce the importance of proper e-waste recycling.

Used computers, electrical appliances, fluorescent lamps and rechargeable batteries

wastereduction.gov.hk 

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2020-03-27 by Cruzanne Macalligan
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