The quantity of e-waste and waste batteries is increasing each year. Due to lack of information (why it is important to discard this type of equipment correctly when it becomes useless and what this means, and where are the collection points for such waste), this type of waste usually ends up among mixed municipal waste or at illegal waste dumps. Incorrect disposal of such waste can cause soil pollution with hazardous substances that are harmful for the environment, people and animals, and on the other hand, precious raw materials that are in the equipment are lost forever.
E-devices and batteries contain hazardous substances that poison groundwater and cause irreparable damage on the organs of living creatures. Some of them are even carcinogens. At the same time these substances are valuable raw materials that are not easily acquired in nature, as their quantity is limited. An example is the recycling of waste fluorescent lamps. With correct recycling we can recover 66% of glass, 4.1% fluorescent dust, 2% aluminium, 1.3 % iron and 26.7% of other waste, primarily lead glass and plastic and electronic circuits from energy saving lamps.
Precious metals and devices that contain them
|RAW MATERIAL||E-DEVICES AND BATTERIES|
|aluminium||lamps, fridge-freezers, small domestic appliances, TV-monitors, solar cells|
|copper||fridge-freezers, mobile phones, small domestic appliances, TV-monitors, solar cells|
|barium||TV-monitors, computer monitors|
|zinc||batteries, mobile phones|
|cadmium||batteries, mobile phones|
|nickel||batteries, solar cells|
|silver||mobile phones, solar cells|
|lead||batteries, lamps, TV-monitors, computer monitors|
|gold||mobile phones, computers|
|mercury||batteries, lamps, TV- monitors, computer monitors|
Some devices also contain cooling gases (e.g. fridge-freezers) which may have serious negative effects on the climate in case of incorrect handling – they deplete the ozone layer. To compare: gas from one waste refrigerator that leaks into the atmosphere can cause the same amount of damage to the atmosphere as a car that drives 20,000 km.