After two long years, it’s time to upgrade your smartphone–hooray! There are new features, apps, and functions to explore, and once again you’re amazed by all that technology can do these days. But wait! All is not as happy as it might seem. Before you can celebrate your new gadget, it’s important to think about what will become of the old one.
The decision of how to dispose of old electronics is difficult with just one or two devices. Now imagine that you had thousands to take care of. That’s the conundrum that faces every single government agency. It’s also why the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently proposed an aggressive new policy that will drastically reduce the approximately 2.4 million tons of electronic waste generated by government agencies every year.
“Transparency and accountability are a crucial part of the regulation and a key focus of the plan,” reads the GSA blog. “GSA, working with other federal agencies, has put forth a policy that will include a requirement for agencies to submit data for all disposed electronics. We’ll start to more effectively account for every device leaving the government, and we’ll report that information to the public on Data.gov.”
The new rule would essentially forbid government agencies from sending any e-waste to incinerators or landfills. Instead, agencies with unwanted electronics would be required to ”offer unwanted electronic equipment to other federal government offices. Failing that, such products would then be donated to local and state governments, schools, or non-profits,” reports TriplePundit. If neither option pans out, government agencies will then be directed to seek out responsible companies that will buy back the gadgets in order to refurbish or recycle them.
These buyback programs will hardly make a dent in federal debt, but the hierarchy proposed by the GSA sets an important example that the rest of us can profit from as well.
It may seem insignificant, but the momentary choice of what to do with an unwanted device or broken gadget creates a ripple-effect of environmental impacts that linger for decades. What will you choose: life or death?
Learn more in the infographic below:
Infographic via eCycleBest.com
Image via Thinkstock