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When e-waste becomes a danger

Broken electrical appliances should be disposed of properly, otherwise they can become a danger to people and the environment. Despite many different options for disposal, many households store old electrical appliances at home. But this can be dangerous.

Old batteries catch fire. We are currently in a very critical situation. Why? The number of electrical appliances per household keeps increasing and the number of correctly disposed electrical appliances is almost stagnating. Moreover, many devices are not disposed of or are disposed of incorrectly, for example in household waste or at illegal scrap dealers who ultimately ship the scrap to developing countries. If, for example, a rechargeable battery is disposed of in household waste, the consequences can be devastating. If the lithium-ion battery were to be crushed, the risk of it starting to smolder or even burn increases.

Electrical appliances contain many toxic substances. If, for example, an energy-saving lamp is not disposed of properly or not at all, there is a risk that the mercury it contains will be released into the environment, causing enormous damage to humans, animals and plants.

Broken electrical appliances are one of the main causes of fires in German households. According to the Institut für Schadenverhütung und Schadenforschung (IFS), around 30% of fires in buildings are caused by electricity or electrical appliances.  We therefore recommend that you regularly check all electrical appliances that are still in operation and take immediate action in the event of error messages. If the device can no longer be repaired, we advise disposing of the old device immediately. In this way, possible hazards can be avoided. (Image source: IFS)

For more information on gadget hoarding (i.e., keeping old electrical appliances at home) click here.

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