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  • Writer's pictureLani Byrd

World Wildlife Day and E-Waste: The Impact on Our Environment


two hippos looking at camera with their eyes above the water

March 3rd is World Wildlife Day, and the entire month of March is a great time to consider the impact that our actions have on the environment. One of the biggest threats to our environment is e-waste or electronic waste. E-waste is any kind of electronic device that is no longer in use, such as old cell phones, laptops, tablets, and TVs. As technology continues to evolve, more and more e-waste is produced. This waste is not only hazardous to the environment, but it also threatens the wildlife that inhabits it.

THE IMPACT OF E-WASTE ON WILDLIFE AND THE ENVIRONMENT


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Humans generate an estimated 57 million tons of e-waste every year. This is equivalent to throwing out 1,000 laptops every single second.

  • Americans throw out approximately 416,000 cell phones each day: this totals more than 151 million phones in a year.

  • Only 20% of e-waste is properly recycled. The rest of this waste ends up in landfills or is burned, releasing toxic chemicals into the environment. This threatens the wildlife that inhabits it.


HOW THIS IMPACTS WILDLIFE


  • Soil Contamination: Improper disposal of e-waste in landfills can lead to soil contamination. Toxic substances from electronic devices can enter the soil, affecting plants and potentially impacting herbivores that consume contaminated vegetation. This continues up the food chain cycle.

  • Water Pollution: E-waste contributes to water pollution when electronic components break down and release hazardous chemicals into nearby water sources. This contamination can affect aquatic ecosystems and the organisms that rely on those environments.

  • Air Pollution: Burning e-waste, a common practice in some regions, releases harmful pollutants into the air. These pollutants can settle on land and water, affecting wildlife and their habitats.

  • Direct Harm to Wildlife: E-waste can have a devastating effect on wildlife, both directly and indirectly. For example, animals can become ill or even die from ingesting or being exposed to toxins released by e-waste. In addition, landfills and dumpsites that contain e-waste can attract scavenging animals, exposing them to hazardous materials and increasing the chance of injury or death. This can have a cascading effect on the entire ecosystem, leading to a loss of biodiversity and a decrease in species.

How You Can Help

a recycling wastebasket holding cell phones and tablets

It’s important to be aware of the impact that e-waste has on our environment and the wildlife that inhabits it. To reduce the amount of e-waste being produced, we can recycle older and unused electronics and buy products that are made from recycled materials. We can also support organizations that are working to reduce e-waste and protect wildlife.

Be mindful of how you dispose of e-waste. Instead of throwing it in the trash, you can donate it to a responsible recycler or find a local e-waste drop-off location. This ensures that your e-waste is disposed of properly and that it doesn’t end up in landfills or dumpsites, where it can cause harm to wildlife.



911 Cell Phone Bank logo

The 911 Cell Phone Bank is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that safely recycles personal electronics such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, cameras, gaming devices, and other similar items. If you have devices that you are no longer using, or unclaimed devices in your lost-and-found or property-and-evidence rooms, consider donating these items for guaranteed secure and environmentally safe recycling. Devices are data erased and repurposed to assist victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. This service is 100% FREE, tax-deductible, and guaranteed secure.

In summary, E-waste is a growing problem that is having a devastating effect on our environment and the wildlife that inhabits it. To reduce the amount of e-waste being produced, we can recycle our old electronics and buy products that are made from recycled materials. We can also be mindful of how we dispose of our e-waste and support organizations that are working to reduce it. By taking these steps, we can help protect our environment and the wildlife that inhabits it.

To learn more and be part of the change, visit the official World Wildlife Day website here.




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