What do you do with old MP3 players, a Fitbit that can’t be repaired, a faulty USB stick or a computer mouse that has long passed it’s sell-by date? E-waste, also known as electronic waste, contains a number of harmful components such as mercury, lead, lithium, and cadmium, which end up in landfills.

Not only are these components harmful to the environment, but the toxicity of e-waste can have devastating consequences on humans as well. These components can adversely impact the reproductive and nervous systems and it can also lead to birth defects and kidney damage, heart and liver damage, as well as skeletal system damage.

The large landfill in Ghana, called Agbogbloshie, is where many of the world’s old electronics are dumped. Many repair shops have opened up in Ghana and West Africa as a result of this dumping and these shops repair computers and sell it to people who can’t afford new machines. While the dumping in Africa can be seen as exploitative (because they are receiving money from countries such as Germany and America who dump their e-waste here), many people’s lives also depend on it and the repair shops are helping to close the digital divide.

While this blog touches on the wider societal issues that waste is contributing to, it’s important for companies in South Africa to think global and act locally. Waste management is vitally important for companies with high quantities of hazardous waste products. Each business in South Africa is urged to take its environmental responsibility seriously and ensure they implement an effective waste management plan. Companies that don’t have access to the right waste disposal facilities, or the know-how when it comes to environmental waste management processes are expected to hire the services of a professional environmental waste management team.

Contact Gondwana Environmental Solutions for an effective e-waste management plan today.