Electronic Waste:

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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.
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