Even as 2020 has been chalked as a zero year by many due to the pandemic, people are looking forward to festive occasions such as Diwali and Christmas for a much-needed reason to smile and feel blessed.
For many people, including me, the festival season meant an experience of working my way through the crowd across congested yet beautifully lit-up marketplaces to buy special gifts for family and friends.
The story this year is vastly different. E-tail is ruling the pockets, as footfalls have moved out of the malls and eyeballs have moved to the online platforms.
Impact of the New Normal Marketplace
Sellers, especially for products such as apparel, jewellery, home décor, consumer electronics and kitchen appliances, look forward to the festive season as it translates into more business for them. In fact, it is around this time that a majority of these businesses introduce highly competitive marketing and sales strategies including cashbacks, extended product warranties, installation packages and exchange offers. One would often find companies launching quite a wide variety of new products during this season.
The festive season usually contributes 30-40% of the annual sales of white goods, and the appliances and consumer electronics industry is expecting double-digit growth in sales. However, the flipside of this accelerated consumer demand, particularly in the case of electronics, is the increase in volume of old and unwanted items such as microwaves, laptops, mobile phones, and refrigerators, among others, being discarded to make place for the new and latest.
Be responsible while disposing off old electronics
While it is a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers to make big electronics purchases during the festivities with a plethora of benefits linked to it, it is equally imperative for consumers to be judicious in dealing with electronic waste or e-waste.
Here, the key stakeholders such as the government agencies and the private players have a pivotal role to play in spreading awareness regarding what e-waste is, its impact on the environment and on lives, as well as educating all on the various techniques and methods of recycling and disposing off e-waste generated. Spreading knowledge on how can users classify different types of e-waste at home for appropriate disposal/recycling measures is an important step towards curbing ineffective e-waste management services.
As conscientious citizens, our responsibility extends to handling and disposing off such products in the most appropriate manner possible. This entails connecting with e-waste recycling units and not throwing these items in the dustbins or giving to the garbage/junk collectors, leading to contributing towards increasing levels of landfills.
When scouting for new electronics to purchase, be a smart ‘electronics’ buyer. Buy eco-friendly and green products like products fitted with rechargeable batteries that put less stress on the environment. Also, be inquisitive about the sellers’ recycling and buyback schemes for old gadgets.
Interestingly, the concept of upcycling or refurbishing e-waste at home by converting discarded goods into work of art or as storage units can be seen on the rise as many put their creativity to good use.
COVID-19 has increased our dependence on technology and thus electronics have become an integral part of our daily lives - from sweeping the floors to cooking meals, from conducting virtual meetings to finding entertainment on OTT platforms - electronic gadgets have become as important as breathing for the majority of the population. By being a responsible, educated shopper, you can enjoy this festival season by cutting down on e-waste and having an eco-friendly Diwali.