Electronic waste refers to discarded electrical appliances or electronic equipment no longer used, which mainly includes the elimination of household appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines, television sets and other communication electronic products such as mobile phones and computers.
The "one step" between the electronic product and the e-waste is getting shorter and shorter as the price of electronic products drops and updates accelerate. Electronic waste contains a large number of toxic and harmful chemicals such as lead, chromium, and mercury, which will pose a threat to the environment and human health if discarded or simply buried as ordinary waste. Prolonged exposure to metal elements in certain electronic devices can lead to abnormal brain development in children, and neurological damage in adults, disorders and organ dysfunction in adults.
As well as containing toxic substances, e-waste also contains precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper, which make it known as "urban minerals". One kilogram of gold and 10 kilograms of silver, worth 40,000 euros, can be removed for every 50,000 used mobile phones, according to a European Union survey. This is the so-called "real gold and silver" of mobile phone motherboards, and it has given birth to the e-waste dismantling industry.
At present, western developed countries, represented by Europe, are leading the world in recycling electronic waste with high efficiency and less pollution. For example, Germany has established at least three recycling channels for e-waste with a recycling rate of more than 45%, which are large recycling stations set up by municipal processing departments, recycling centers provided by environmental companies and stores selling electronics. Such a sound recycling system requires the joint efforts of the government, enterprises, businesses and the public.
The extended producer responsibility system is a solution worth advocating in the current e-waste treatment. Dell, HP and other enterprises have established a relatively perfect recycling system. According to the 2016 Environmental Responsibility Report released by Apple, the robot used by Apple to take apart the iPhone can recover 1.9 tons of aluminum, 0.8 tons of copper, 0.3 kilograms of gold, 0.4 kilograms of platinum and 7 kilograms of silver for every 100,000 pieces of apple 6 dismantled, and the recycled aluminum will be used again to make new apple products.