Electronic Waste: What happens to our electronic equipment later? Video showing e-waste in China. What is electronic waste? Televisions, Computer equipment, Stereo equipment, VCR/DVD players, Video equipment, Telephones, Cell phones, Wireless devices, Fax/Copy machines, mp3 equipment, video game consoles. Why is it a concern? • The amount of e-waste is increasing 2-3 times faster than any other type of waste. • E-waste contains many hazardous materials including: Brominated Hexavalent Beryllium flame is Lead is found in retardants Chromium carcinogenic damage passes (primarily liver Mercurycomputer is found in monitors – Lead Cadmium is Barium andcausing through reproductive lung cell cancer) cells. sensors, andrelays, solder is in used circuit – Cadmium found in chip to shieldPVC) membranes and causes andskin switches, panel boards. Plasticsflat (especially resistors, radiation damages diseases. DNA. monitors and Lead–damages Mercury produce dioxinfrom (a semiconductor monitors. batteries.when burned. the brain and carcinogen) – Hexavalent Chromium chips and is a nervous systems, plastic Cadmium blood–systems, Plastics Brominated stabilizer. accumulates in kidney and Mercury damages Beryllium is used to – Brominated flame retardants flamethe retardants Hexavalent kidneys and reproductive many organs conduct electricity, are used inChromium is in damages – including Barium systems. Plastics are usedthe in brain motherboards casings to used toand to filtering Barium damages cabling and – Beryllium and kidneys. strengthen prevent prevent processes. the heart, liver and computer housings. other muscles. connectors. flammability. corrosion. Where does most of our e-waste eventually go? • E-waste is banned in most of Europe and the U.S. • Most of it is being shipped to developing countries where poor residents (adults and children) separate the materials in order to sell back metals. • Video in India. • Much of our electronic equipment is not made in the U.S. Working conditions elsewhere provide little protection to the employees. • Video in Mexico. What happens with our e-waste? • In 2002, the European Union began requiring manufacturers to pay the entire cost of recycling the electronic equipment they produce. • This is not required in the U.S. Only 6% of electronic equipment in the U.S. is recycled. • Americans dispose of millions of tons of ewaste every year (eventually ending up in foreign dumps or U.S. landfills). What can we do with our e-waste? • For electronic equipment that is still working and less than 5 years old, donate this equipment! • For older or non-working electronic equipment, responsibly recycle this equipment. There are certified recyclers in the U.S. Typically it costs $20 - $50 to recycle electronic equipment. • Support the Basel Convention – a treaty signed by every developed country except for the U.S. – This treaty regulates the movement of hazardous waste across international borders. The goal is to limit the dumping of hazardous waste from wealthier countries into poorer countries.