E-waste collection drive at mall

2013-10-17 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG households and businesses will have an opportunity tomorrow to get rid of redundant and broken electronic equipment that has been lying around taking up space and collecting dust.

An electronic waste or e-waste collection day will held at the Liberty Midlands Mall tomorrow from 10 am to 4 pm. In a similar drive last year, 3,5 tons of e-waste was collected.

The initiative is run by Re-Ethical, a company involved in the solid waste industry, in partnership with the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), Jeffares & Green Engineering & Environmental Consultants and Liberty Midlands Mall.

Grant von Mayer from the e-waste team at Jeffares & Green said that generally many people upgrade their cell phones every two years.

“What do we then do with the old ones? Where are our broken fax machines or printers stored? Somewhere in our homes or offices — waiting for better times that never come,” he asked.

Von Mayer and team-mates Imke Summers and Suvritha Ramphal say now is the time to empty out those garages and cupboards. They want to beat the 3,5 tons that they collected last year.

According to the team, all e-waste received on the day will be refurbished, repaired, dismantled or safely disposed of (depending on the condition) and handled according to integrated waste management principles and in the most environmentally safe manner.

WHAT IS E-WASTE AND WHY IS IT POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS?

E-WASTE is made up of any unwanted electrical or electronic equipment (either running on batteries or electricity) such as computers, TVs, VCRs and DVDs, consumer electronics, kettles, printers, fax machines, cell phones, toasters, microwaves or direct parts of these items.

Due to the numerous chemical elements and heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) contained in most electric and electronic goods any resulting e-waste can be hazardous and toxic. It can cause serious health and environmental pollution problems if not handled responsibly. Hazardous components from mismanaged e-waste can contaminate soil and water (if unsafely disposed of) and pollute the air with toxic fumes (if burnt), all of which can have dire consequences to plants, animals and people.

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