How Can Kids Help to Reduce E-waste?
Children, teenagers, and twenty-something’s have not known a life without technology. You can argue that technology and electronic devices are an integral part of their existence since they have grown up being surrounded by a technology-driven environment. Being exposed to something from an early age predisposes you to embrace it and make it a natural element to your life and existence.
Cell phones and tablets have become a predominant form of communication and a variety of other activities amongst all age groups. However, it seems the younger generations are more technology-driven.
A 2015 report by Huffington Post revealed that 95% of millennial (ages 18-34) own cell phones as compared to only 68% in the 66-74 age group and 48% in the generation aged from 75 and over.
With electronic devices becoming so popular amongst the younger generations, the number of devices per household is increasing to a staggering number of 24 electronic products per household!
This begs the question: what happens to your old devices when you no longer use them? When you are finished using a device and are ready to toss it out, it becomes electronic waste, also called e-waste.
How Should We Teach Kids to Dispose of Their Old Electronics?
They should be made aware of the consequences of disposal of electronics. They should be instructed not to throw the electronics out with the everyday trash.
Since electronics (even small batteries) contain dangerous chemicals, kids must know that it is not a good idea to trash used mobile phones, video game consoles, and cables, because they will usually end up in the landfill.
If these dangerous chemicals end up in the landfill, they can severely harm the environment. Plus, the metals can certainly be recycled and used for other applications.
Kids Should Learn to Reuse or Recycle
Kids should check whether their electronics are still in perfect working order. Sometimes, they may decide not to use them anymore. So, allow them to pass it on to someone who can use them.
Ask around and find a friend or family member who can continue to make use of it, or alternatively, you could donate it to a charity that collects electronics in your community.
Just like paper and bottles, you can recycle electronics too. If your kid’s device is no longer in working order to enable them to give it to someone who needs it, then they should recycle it.
What can my kids do to help with recycling used electronic devices?
Recycling used electronic devices is a good habit to get into, just as you would recycle your weekly newspaper or a week’s worth of milk bottles and soda cans. There are a number of ways that kids can get involved in recycling their old devices:
1. Recycling drive and fundraiser
With new cell phones being released every year, many people have extra cell phones collecting dust in the cupboard. They can arrange and host a drive at school to collect people’s old, cell phones. Get permission from your school to work on a project like this.
Many places offer a cash back option from devices that have some trade-in value. This money can be used to raise funds for the school and school programs, or a charity linked to your school or community.
This is a great way to collect old cell phones and their chargers that are no longer in use and significantly reduce the e-waste in your community.
2. Learn to Fix Gadgets
You may not realise it, but most electronic devices are pretty simple to fix yourself. It is also a great way for kids to learn and have fun while being exposed to technical work. Allowing kids to experiment with old or broken devices can help them to develop problem-solving skills and a sense of accomplishment when they get the device to work again (or work in a new way).
There are plenty of guides online for fixing a wide array of electronic devices, such as the free guides on iFixit.com. They provide easy step-by-step guides to fix just about everything.
Talk to your teachers about setting up a club at school where kids can get together and fix old gadgets together, and share their accomplishments of things they have fixed at home.
Are you inspired to start recycling, reusing and repairing your old electronics at home? Are you motivated to start a collection of old devices to raise money for a good cause? With households gaining more and more electronic devices every year, kids need to start finding ways to recycle and reuse their gadgets in order for there to be resources for new devices as they get older as well as protecting the environment from e-waste.
Where can Kids Recycle their E-waste?
Teach your kids about the various materials that are used to make the electronics. The majority of these materials can be recycled to re-create new products. These materials include metals, plastic and glass.
There are companies that take old devices to dismantle and separate the materials for recycling. The truth about recycling is that you can keep these precious materials in use and protect the environment from dangerous e-waste.
What is an E-steward?
E-stewards are recyclers of electronics that meet the highest standards of recycling. When you are looking for an e-waste recycler, try to find an e-steward to help you. E-stewards is an initiative that ensures recycling takes place in the correct manner and is safe for kids or workers to dismantle electronic devices according to the Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment.
If there you do not have an e-steward recycler in your area, you can also take certain electronic devices back to your nearest Staples store, with the exception of TVs.
These stores offer free recycling programmes and are affiliated with e-steward recyclers, making the recycling of your electronics that much easier for you. Best Buy stores also offer recycling programmes and will also take larger devices, like your old TV sets.
If you do not have either of these stores nearby, find out from your community recycling programme where you can drop off your old devices to be recycled. Most electronics stores offer recycling programmes or have a drop-off point for devices, so ask around to find out what your options are.
So, kids out there extend a helping hand towards your parents and do one of the noblest jobs, conserving our earth!