Last week I had to write a paper addressing a problem that is applicable to globalization and organizing communication; our instructions were to only write about the problem. As an optimist, it was difficult for me to delve into the problem of ewaste without suggesting solutions along the way; however, it was a worthwhile challenge.
I learned the importance doing more in-depth research and looking at how organizations define problems and communicate about them. When I finished writing, I was excited to have provided structure to such an intricate and seemingly insoluble problem.
So if you were beating yourself for adding to ewaste, quit it…
THERE ARE SOLUTIONS!
- Green Products: If companies manufactured green products, they would be easier to recycle, decreasing the amount of ewaste substantially and reducing the likelihood of shipping ewaste to developing countries.
- Repair Centers: If companies started training their employees (or hiring additional staff members) to repair products, consumers would be able to get their products repaired, rather than tossing them out and buying new ones. This would probably require marketing and advertising support to make consumers who repair products look more ethical, modern, and hip.
- Media Coverage: Shouldn’t the media expose more truths, rather than emphasize weekly ratings? If photos of ewaste circulated through news stations, the general public would have a different perspective of ewaste and waste distancing.
- Environmental Organizations: Get involved! Volunteer, donate, like/post on social media pages to create more awareness of ewaste. If you are not familiar with environmental organizations that target ewaste, check out: Greenpeace, Basel Action Network (BAN), Cloud Blue Environmental Solutions for Electronic Assets
- Better Use of Personal Technologies: Make your carbon footprint smaller by taking care of your devices to expand the device’s lifetime. When your devices are no longer usable, research buyback programs and recycle only when you are certain the materials are recycled safely on site.
- Take-back Laws: One of the biggest directives to combat ewaste is The EU’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (2003, WEEE Directive), which highlights the responsibilities of manufacturers in the collection, disposal and recycling of e-waste.
Finally, I want to apologize for letting this ugly problem fester for a whole week, and though it may have made you feel badly for contributing to ewaste, I hope it helps to provide awareness of what ewaste is and how it degrades the environment and human health; further, I hope it provides some knowledge of how to improve the the current situation, and that it demonstrates the urgent need for change.