Nowadays technology is becoming indispensable for every part of our life especially in this critical period of the covid-19 pandemic. Every year the old technology is substituted with a more advanced new technology which causes the growth of e-waste. Therefore, technology is becoming a lifecycle issue, which is presented both as risk and opportunity.
E-waste is not just related to digital devices; it is a broader term. It means all electronic waste which is a popular informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their “useful life”. It could be any electronic devices such as phones, computers, laptops, fax machines, stereos, radios, CDs/DVDs, televisions, Cameras, smartphones, photocopiers, printers, scanners etc.
In our daily life, we use all these electronics and each of them has a lifespan after which it becomes a waste. With the increasing usage and production of electronic products, the amounts of e-waste are also increasing globally. According to the UN report, the total production of e-waste worldwide is 50 million tonnes annually, and producing continuously will lead to 120 million tonnes of e-waste per year by 2050. However, the recycling of e-waste is less than 20% which is a dangerous indicator (United Nations).
There is a lack of awareness about the right way of disposing of e-waste in society. Many are disposing it along with the normal waste. And each country has a different way of disposing of the e-waste that includes burning it, using the heat circuit boards, expose them to acid baths, dumping waste into landfills etc. The most common way to get rid-off e-waste in Bahrain is to dump them into landfills with many layers of sand with the other waste.
The improper way handling of e-waste is bound to affect our environment and human beings. The toxic chemicals are released from the e-waste into the environment that includes dioxins and furans from polyvinyl chloride, lead, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, etc.
The accumulation of chemicals in soil, water, and food affects human life, the toxic chemicals of e-waste can cause several health hazards and could be fatal.
The earth is our home, it provides us with everything we need, thus we must preserve and maintain all the resources that we have. In Bahrain, there are some companies such as Zain Bahrain and E-bin Company who are taking the initiative of collecting e-waste from society.
E-Waste to E-Fashion
However, as a part of a major social initiative, KHOSH solutions take part in recycling e-waste converting the risks of the technology into opportunities, by upcycling the old technologies into innovative fashion accessories. They give a second life to yesterday’s technology by upcycling CDs to splendid pieces of art. KHOSH solutions are a Bahraini based e-waste upcycling initiative specialized in upcycling e-waste in a creative and entertaining way.
KHOSH is a popular word in the Gulf region which means ‘Perfect’. KHOSH solutions’ motto is to provide perfect solutions for recycling the rising e-waste that is negatively affecting our health and the environment.
KHOSH solutions recycle two types of materials CDs and Printed Circuit Boards PCBs, to produce four types of product:
- CDimensions activity box: this is a full activity kit in a box that includes a jar with different colorful pieces made from upcycled CDs and the necessary accessories to create more than 10 personalized accessories. The objective is to engage the society in handcraft activities that will increase their awareness and reduce their technology usage.
- CDimensions refill/personalized jar: consumer customize their own jar by choosing the shapes and colors to work on it to create their own accessories.
- CDimensions readymade / personalized fashion accessories: offering different readymade artistic pieces that can be used for personal use, gifts or giveaways.
- CBoard readymade / personalized fashion accessories: different readymade artistic pieces that can be used for personal use, gifts or giveaways.
Technology makes our life easier and faster, and today it is accessible to everyone. However, there is a negative side of using technology that is affecting our health, destroying the quality of human interaction, addicting us to these technologies, and giving rise to the e-waste problem that affects our environment. KHOSH solutions aim to get off this negative side of technology by recycling the e-waste and engaging society in creative activities rather than spending their entire time glued to gadgets.
The e-waste has precious metals such as gold, in addition to valuable materials such as plastic, glass, and ceramics which can be an opportunity to use these materials as an input for many companies to open innovation direction for the business. Take, for instance, Pandora Jewellery – a major jewelry brand that seeks to stop using new gold and silver in all products by 2025 and replace it with recycled gold and silver from electronics.
The future generation is a digital generation they will have to use the new technology. Our responsibility is to help them discover the hidden treasure – “the e-waste”, give it new life and preserve our environment. This will guarantee that our future generations will live in a clean and healthy environment with rich advanced technology.
About the Author
Masooma Yusuf Ahmed works as a Learning Resources Specialist with the Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She is a critical thinker and innovations that have an impact on society are close to her heart.