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As technology excels, so does our need for the newer-and-better that comes from said advances. For struggling start-up owners and billionaire CEOs, it’s a peculiar mix of keeping up with the Joneses plus the pure necessity to make our businesses run as efficiently as possible.
This is why we all must take stock of (and be very worried ABOUT) the ever-rising tide of the e-waste ride.
Face the taste of electronic waste
The conversation about the need for e-waste disposal started back in the 1970s, although we already needed proper refuges for this refuse well before that decade. We’ve seen the issue of e-waste become more of a problem in the last decade, rising by more than twenty percent in just five years, with numbers predicted to continuously kill us.
First factor: We have more money to throw around these days. Second one: The ever-present drive for growth in technology. The shorter the lifespan of a product, the more frequently it will be bought.
Something may last three years and it sounds like a worthwhile investment because the industry standard is two. If a product provides optimization for at least a year after we buy it, it sounds like we’re getting our money’s worth.
This is neither great for our budgets nor sustainable for our planet or the health of people we love.
The environmental and this-can-kill-you impact
The gradual breakdown of metals and plastics can leach into the groundwater and heavily impact the health of soil in a larger area. Water that has been contaminated by e-waste breakdown can be found far from where it originated, further impacting the wildlife that drinks from it.
It impacts humans as well.
Mercury, lead, beryllium, cadmium and a dozen other elements may end up in what we drink, our land, or even the air we breathe if e-waste isn’t properly recycled and disposed.
E-waste has the potential to reduce the usability of soil, cause serious health problems to our children and desolate previously livable areas of land.
The sustainability aspect
A viable yearly tech budget for small business owners runs the gamut between $10,000 and $49,000. Is that viable for your venture? What could you do with that money if you weren’t spending it on new laptops?
Building new tech takes up valuable resources: Gold, copper, iron, aluminum and a plethora of other ingredients go into creating your new laptop. What happens when you decide to jettison all of that, next year, in favor of something more up-to-date?
Related: The Business of Sustainability
How entrepreneurs can tackle e-waste
All of this may come across as a doomsday warning — but in actual fact, it’s nothing more than a simple truth of what’s to come if we don’t act now.
So what can you do?
Commit to recycling e-waste responsibly. Make it a company-wide policy.
Partner with local organizations that will reuse the resources within your outdated tech.
Look for programs that upgrade, repair and refurbish tech products. Provide it to those in need, like underprivileged children in local schools.
If we act now, we can heal the environment while creating sustainable opportunities for our businesses, families and future.