Dealing with, and properly disposing of, electronic waste

At a glance

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that e-waste is the fastest-growing solid waste stream globally, with an estimated 53.6 million tons produced in 2019. However, only 17.4% of this e-waste was formally collected and recycled. Improper e-waste handling releases harmful substances like lead, affecting vulnerable populations, including children and women in the informal recycling sector.

  • Before disposing of old gadgets, it is crucial to clean them thoroughly by removing personal data and resetting them to factory settings. Apple recommends storing devices half-charged to prevent battery damage. Regularly revisiting and charging stored devices to 50% can help maintain their functionality.

  • Keeping all cables, power banks, and other electronic accessories in a dedicated storage location can make them easily accessible and reduce unnecessary purchases. This organization helps decrease e-waste by preventing the need to buy duplicate items like chargers.

  • Utilizing electronic waste collection programs and donating functional old gadgets can significantly reduce e-waste. Repurposing gadgets by donating them to family, friends, or community organizations not only extends the life of these items but also promotes sustainability and kindness. Additionally, selling old gadgets online can provide extra income while ensuring these items are reused.

Let’s be honest: How many old phones – whether working or not – do you have at home right now? And while we’re at it, how many laptops or even desktops are gathering dust in a forgotten nook, along with old landline units, internet modems, game consoles, and tablets that occupy space and have an uncertain future. 




Just like everything else in our homes and offices, electronic clutter or e-waste is something we must attend to, sooner rather than later. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website, e-waste is the fastest-growing solid waste stream in the world. The agency reported that an estimated 53.6 million tons of e-waste was produced globally in 2019, yet only 17.4% of it was formally collected and recycled. The improper handling of e-waste released harmful substances such as lead into the environment, harming people who work in the informal recycling sectors. These include children and women who are exposed to toxic substances when they scavenge, or manually disassemble equipment. Harmful effects include adverse neonatal, neurodevelopment, learning, and behavioral outcomes, along with increased asthma incidence and reduced lung and respiratory function. 

You might have experienced going through your old gadgets and seeing their surfaces peeling, getting sticky, or worn out. The best way to attend to e-waste is to prevent having any around your home. Take some of the proactive steps below or learn how you can dispose of these correctly, if it’s too late to salvage them. 

  • Clean before letting go. We are often too excited to move on that we forget to properly end our relationship with a gadget we are replacing. Make sure to empty phones and tablets of data and reset these to factory settings. This will ensure that you have stored photos, notes, and videos properly, while scrubbing the gadgets of personal data before you give your gadget away or sell it. Physically clean gadgets if you decide to store them in a moisture-free place. Apple recommends to store devices half-charged, as storing it fully charged could bring its battery to “deep discharge state, which renders it incapable of holding a charge.” Revisit the items every six months, the tech company said, and charge devices to 50% when you do. 


  • Centralize everything. Dedicate a drawer for cables and power banks, or a storage location for bigger gadgets. Having all of these in one place will make these things accessible to your household and reduce unnecessary purchases. We never really need 18 iPhone cord chargers. But if we fail to find one, we often resort to buying one or two. With all charging cables in one place, anyone can just easily grab a cable when they travel, go to work, or need one for the car. Buying less contributes to decreasing e-waste.


  • Officially part with them. Electronic waste collection programs are more accessible these days. Have a box at home for non-functioning mobile phones, chargers, batteries, keyboards, earphones, compact discs, floppy disks, and more. Bring its contents every quarter to a mall that has a recycling program. Check if the kids have similar waste collection efforts in school. Let the experts handle your e-waste instead of just directly dumping these in the trash bin. 


  • Repurpose. It’s not always about having the latest gadget, but about having one that works. Find your appliances new homes by donating these to the barangay, orphanages, homes for the aged, or even to your relatives. Teach the young ones kindness by letting the kids of your family driver have their old game consoles after they upgrade. Give your old phones to your friends or staff. That old printer can be used by your village association or your officemates’ kids. 


  • Earn from it. Earn extra from your old gadgets by selling these online. Take good photos of your items. Be honest and declare any flaws. Transact wisely on trusted selling platforms. What you earn can go to your savings or help pay for your monthly bills.