Newtech Recycling often talks about how harmful e-waste is and why you should recycle yours instead of tossing it in the garbage. As the technology of handheld devices continues to expand in the 2020s and beyond, responsibly disposing of toxic electronic waste will become more important than ever. That is, if we want to protect our planet.

The earth has limited resources, and water is included in that. We expect to have clean water available to us at all times, but have you ever wondered about the effects of e-waste on water? The reality might be more frightening than you realize.

Let’s get into some detail on e-waste and groundwater. We will then talk about the importance of the disposal of e-waste in today’s society.


1. Harms Human Health

Here’s the scoop on e-waste: most of it contains heavy metals and other materials that are extremely hazardous to human health. For instance, in an electronic product that people throw away, there could be metals such as cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, and mercury.

People who come into direct contact with these toxic chemicals over time risk developing debilitating neurological and physical conditions. Aaron, the founder of Test Prep Genie, told us “E-wastes produce chemicals once heated and thrown in inappropriate places. The ground absorbs its toxic materials that would mix with the groundwater.” This contaminated groundwater ultimately ends up in larger bodies of water and comes into contact with humans. The conditions people can develop from using contaminated water include Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and cancer.

You can therefore probably see the inherent risks of tossing out e-waste in the garbage: electronics that break down in landfills risk leaching those materials into groundwater that could ultimately be used by humans. This is a risk no one should be willing to take.


2. Destroys Plant Life

The effects of e-waste on water don’t stop with humans. It’s easy to see from the previous section that e-waste-contaminated groundwater can also destroy the ecosystems through which it flows. Think of all the plant life that takes in water daily. In some cases, water pollution directly kills plants due to the levels of toxicity that are in the water.

Ecosystems where many plants die at once cannot support more life. Those plants–which once provided oxygen to the air and food for many kinds of animals–are suddenly no more. The animals must then move elsewhere for sustenance. This disrupts their natural environment and could shorten the animals’ lives.

Conversely, water pollution can also provide many new nutrients to aquatic ecosystems, promoting algal blooms in the water. The excessive growth of algae produces eutrophication, or the abundance of nutrients in a body of water, and a resulting lack of oxygen there.

This means no new plants or animals can live there. That area then becomes a dead zone, where no life exists. This shrinks habitats and endangers wildlife of all types.


3. Threatens Animal Life

When asking the question, “What effect does e-waste have on groundwater?” we must also mention the animal life that is threatened as a result of pollution. We touched on this in the previous point: obviously, when plant life becomes poisoned by heavy metals that have leached into groundwater from e-waste, animals are affected, too.

One way this happens is by direct contact. Animals can drink contaminated water and get sick or die. They can eat plants in the polluted area and become sick that way, too. Or, the algal blooms can force the animals to leave their natural homes and seek solace elsewhere.

The problem is that those other areas might not be as conducive to survival as the dead zone was previously. As a result, the animals may lead shorter lives.

The other issue with water pollution and animals is that the contamination can work its way up the food chain. Humans may eat fish containing high levels of mercury. Or certain land animals can eat poisoned fish and die as a result. In this way, groundwater pollution threatens animal populations in entire areas.


The Effects of E-Waste on Water Are Serious

We are not painting a picture of a possible future. This is the reality. It is happening now. Paul Katzoff with White Canyon tells us, “Education is the most important component. Understanding that data on computers can be erased so the drives don’t need to be shredded. Right now, most IT managers shred their drives before their end of life to decrease the risk of data breaches.” 

This is why Newtech Recycling puts so much effort into making sure we recycle your electronic devices correctly. We do this responsibly and in accordance with the laws in the states where we operate. But we also ensure your sensitive data is wiped out in the process. Our computer data destruction service takes care of that.

If you have any amount of e-waste that you would like recycled in a sustainable way for our future, contact Newtech Recycling today. We would love to help you build a healthier world for us all.