With the fast paced technology in the 21st century, electronics are being replaced at a rapid turnover rate. There are many gadgets with different specifications available in the market every day for personal and for business use and consumers just keep on replacing their gadgets on a regular basis.
In fact, according to the Environment Protection Agency, more than 416,000 cellphones are being disposed everyday. In addition, according to ConsumerReports.Org, 40% of cellphone users did not conduct any security measures, like erasing data, before they dispose their cell phone/s. As responsible users, one must be aware how to properly e-recycle these communication gadgets to stop contributing to the global e-waste.
Without e-recycling, electronic users have two main potential risks due to the unsecured disposal of communication gadgets, specifically of cellphones.
First, one may experience leakage of information. Unsecured disposal, like throwing the gadget on a regular trash bin, or even unsecured recycling may compromise ones privacy as well as the company’s or brands reputation. There is no assurance that the messages, data, or even pictures and videos stored in the disposed phone will not be accessed by other people.
For businesses, sensitive or important data may be viewed by unauthorized people, which may lead to a data breach. There are only a few laws about e-waste management even in the U.S.A. People should take this as a reminder that it’s the consumer’s main responsibility to take care of the information stored in any gadget.
Second, the environment is also at risk without secured e-recycling practices. Cell phones and other gadgets contain toxic metals like lead from printed circuit boards, mercury in liquid crystal displays, and cadmium from the batteries. These dangerous toxins could leak from the piled up e-waste and into the ground water. These leaked toxins could cause damages on the environment if not treated properly or if not prevented.
When cell phones are burned, the same chemicals, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, will be released in the air and water.
For instance, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ecosystems near sources of lead shows loss of biodiversity, decreased growth and reproductive rates, and neurological effects in some animals. When humans inhale air containing lead or intake food containing lead, it will accumulate in the bones. These may affect the body systems and may cause learning deficits as well as lowered IQ in children and even infants.
In summary, secured recycling or disposal is important to lessen the potential information and environmental risks given the fast turnover rate of gadgets, particularly of cell phones. Improper disposal greatly contributes to the increased risk of personal and business data breaches. The environment is also not spared from the damage and pollution due to the dangerous toxins found in some of the parts of a cell phone like lead, mercury, and cadmium. These toxins that leaked in the waters and evaporated in the air can cause cancer, damage to the body systems like the nervous system, and cause brain development problems on children and infants.