By Ashley Yearwood
Until recently, tossing electronics, or recycling them was not something that we’ve had to think critically about. As product life shortens and the need for “the upgrade” grows, we no longer need them to be in ill repair to purchase the next best version.
Recycle bins have been placed around the island to encourage the recycling of tin and glass. Bins are placed in businesses like AF Smith’s for used ink and toner cartridges, used batteries are accepted in grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores and service stations across the island. Bermudians are left wondering how to dispose of their old phones, or laptops, and are only really presented with one option — the dump. It’s time to start thinking critically about electronic waste (or e-waste) disposal.
Fortunately, the Tynes Bay Facility has a separate area for e-waste drop off. It is encouraging to know that household items — paper, cardboard, plastic and food waste — are turned into energy that helps power the island. E-waste, on the other hand, can be detrimental to the environment if not treated properly. And unfortunately, for some, having to store and take e-waste to Palmetto Road for disposal can be seen as an inconvenience, and result in someone deciding to just throw a device in the trash.
How can we fix this?
Bermuda business has an opportunity to get involved in helping to keep Bermuda beautiful. When we look internationally, we see that fully functioning unwanted phones, computers and cameras are simply returned to the stores where they are refurbished, stripped for parts or properly disposed of. There is an opening, possibly an idea for a start-up to bring a new industry to the island that is good for the environment, the ecosystem, Bermuda’s world of work, and everyone’s wellbeing. If we can do it with bikes and cars, we definitely can do it with electronic devices.
Having specialized bins for computers in businesses across the island can ensure that these items end up where they are supposed to be. They can be given a new life, vetted for used parts, and create an appreciation for reselling. Plus, having these bins around could bring in an unassuming customer.
As the island grows with the world, so does its level of tech use, meaning instant gratification and convenience are more in demand. It’s important that our knowledge as a collective stays parallel. Plead with your local businesses to take those little steps further to protect the island. It’s in all of our best interest.