Behind the scenes of the world’s exponentially fast tech innovations are literal mountains of e-waste. According to Do Something, up to 50 metric tons of e-waste are disposed of around the world every single year. And that number is only bound to shoot up as more and more devices are produced and sold.
According to Variety, the average American household owns at least 11 electronic devices—devices that are replaced almost every time a newer, shinier version comes out.
Needless to say, this is not a sustainable direction forward. And only through collective action can something be done about it. This is why more people are joining in, doing their best to reduce their households’ e-waste.
If you want to join in too, here’s how you can start.
Maximize Digital Tools
This first step won’t only reduce your e-waste but also boost your security and efficiency in the modern world.
By defaulting to online and cloud services, you reduce the need for owning your own hardware. Online storage, for example, allows you to keep scores of data in the cloud. This means you can say goodbye to the pile of memory sticks and hard drives that are actually more prone to file corruption.
You’ll also be able to access your data from anywhere, making it a more convenient move overall.
Create a Device Inventory
Can you honestly say how many phones, tablets, digital cameras, or other electronic devices you have tucked away somewhere in your home? You probably can’t. Now, multiply that problem with the population of the country.
It’s important that you keep track of every device you have in your possession. Whether they’re functional or broken, you should note them down somewhere (hopefully somewhere in the cloud). This will help you gauge just what you really need for your next visit to the electronics store.
Memory sticks, for example, are easily misplaced. This may lead you to believe that you need to buy new ones every time. Keeping an inventory of all devices might show you a couple of options instead of buying again.
Reuse, Repurpose, or Recycle
There are a lot of uses for those devices you’ve hidden away. Those that are still functional may be reused. If not for yourself, you can give it to someone you know that may need an extra phone or camera, for example.
You can also repurpose some devices so they can be used again. Old phones can be used as GPS devices. Old digital cameras may be turned into webcams for your computer. Old computers may be used as entertainment systems for the living room.
If some devices are dysfunctional, you may want to have them checked. An old mobile device, for example, may have some memorable files or pictures that you want to keep. Have them checked at a cell phone repair shop before you send them out.
If it’s finally time to let go of a device, you can recycle them to retailers. They often have e-waste recycling programs for that purpose.
Sustainability is something everyone should strive for because it’s something everyone will benefit from. Reducing your e-waste is an excellent way to help out. Follow these steps, and good luck!