With Black Friday having come and gone, you may have some new tech in your home or in your pocket. While some folks (read: us) hoard older electronics, there comes a time when you need to get rid of the older tech in your life.

Many folks may believe that simply lumping your dead or aged electronics in with regular trash is fine but we have some harsh news for those people.

Electronics contain a myriad components, some of these are harmless but many more can be toxic to humans and disposing of them incorrectly is a massive problem in South Africa.

This is according to the e-Waste Association of South Africa (eWASA) which reports that between 1 129 000 and 2 108 000 tons of potential e-waste is stored in South African households. The association also estimates that a tenth of South African households generate as much as 85 000 tons of e-Waste.

This e-waste includes white good, consumer electronics and ICT equipment.

E-Waste is a global problem but here in Africa we have a chance to get ahead of the situation before it becomes dire.

So how do we avoid drowning in e-waste?

Firstly, don’t chuck your old smartphone in your regular trash. The reason for this is that, should that trash be disposed of in an improper way, pollutants can be set free into the air or the ground.

Disposing of electronic waste must also be done carefully as some components can be toxic.

In this regard eWASA has provided us with a great guide as to what substances electronics may contain and the health effects of exposure to these substances.

You can find that document at this link.

Thankfully, eWASA has a number of collection points for old and damaged electronics. These electronics are then shipped off and safely dismantled and – where possible – recycled.

To find your nearest collection point you can visit the eWASA website and scroll to the bottom of the homepage for a map showcasing the collection points around the country.

You are also able to take your old electronics to select retailers such as Makro.

To find a location nearby, head to the My Waste website, key in your area, what you want to get rid of and how far you’re willing to travel to drop the goods off.

For businesses, eWASA offers a membership whereby owners can take an environmentally sound approach to their e-waste disposal. Patron members of eWASA include Pick n Pay, Canon and Mintek.

The only provision for dropping off e-waste is that the devices are dry and clean.

With the festive season just weeks away and the global penchant for new tech we highly recommend recycling your old electronics.

At worst you’ll free up some storage space, which will inevitably be filled with more old electronics, “Just in case we need it”.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]