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Published On: Fri, May 29th, 2020

Albert Boufarah Reveals Another Major Threat of COVID-19

We are slowly coming to grips with the devastating consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on the healthcare and economic landscapes. However, there is another looming threat that could eventually be even more debilitating and costly: a staggering surge in electronic waste (e-waste) contributed by the growing ranks of remote workers. 

“Americans annually throw away an estimated $55 billion in e-waste, and only 12.5 percent of all e-waste is recycled. This means that in the U.S. alone, there is a whopping $48.1 billion dollars that is not being recycled, which is not just money down the drain — it is a real and pressing environmental threat that, if left unchecked, could contribute to a full-blown ecological catastrophe,” commented Albert Boufarah, the Founder and CEO of leading data destruction and electronic waste recycling firm SAMR Inc. “And now that millions of people are working from home, the problem is actually getting worse instead of better.”

What Al Boufarah is referring to is the fact that millions of people who are now working at home, are running into a big productivity obstacle: they have too much outdated or broken electronic equipment stored away in their spare room, basement, den and elsewhere, and not enough space to work. Unfortunately (and in some cases illegally), some of these individuals are solving their space problem by throwing away old desktop computers, laptops, printers, scanners, routers, monitors, televisions, cell phones, fax machines, and so on. 

Imagine de Olga Lionart de la Pixabay

The Consequences of E-Waste

As for addressing the problem and preventing residential e-waste from ending up in landfills — where among other hazards, it slowly seeps into the earth and makes its way into the water system — e-waste recycling experts like Al Boufarah say that it comes down to two core things: awareness and access. 

With respect to awareness, towns need to help their residents understand that disposing e-waste is dangerous, socially irresponsible, and in most jurisdictions it is also unlawful. Providing educational resources over the web and working with retailers and e-tailers can help make people more informed and conscious. Generally speaking, most people want to be part of the solution once they understand the risks and consequences involved.

“Towns need to make it simple and easy for residents to properly dispose of e-waste” states Al Boufarah. ” For example, we have many towns that take advantage of our e-waste container service, which gives residents a convenient electronics recycling solution. Containers can be closed or open depending on where they are located. An open container would be suitable for a secured area like a community center, while a closed container with a lock would be suitable for a mall parking lot. Plus, we handle all of the logistics, including dropping the container off, picking it up when full, and replacing it with an empty one.”

And as for anyone who thinks that the e-waste alarm is going off prematurely and that this is not a major problem, consider this: e-waste is responsible for 70 percent of overall toxic waste, and it is also the fastest-growing municipal waste stream in the U.S.

What You Can Do to Help

According to Al Boufarah: “There are some positive environmental benefits of remote working, such as reduced carbon emissions due to fewer cars on the road. However, we need to make sure that the shift towards remote working does not create a potentially even bigger problem in the future, which is exactly what will happen if we see an exponential increase in e-waste. Just like businesses, individuals need to be part of the solution. Every time they responsibly recycle an old monitor, cell phone, TV, DVD player, or anything with a battery or plug, they are keeping it out of a landfill — and helping make the world cleaner and safer.”

Author: Jamie Cartwright

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