Saturday, August 6, 2011


E-waste is a loosely defined term that refers to disposed electronics. With the demand for high-end electronics on a rise, e-waste is becoming a serious problem. Chances are that you, me, and anyone who has ever bought and disposed of an electronic item has contributed to this problem. A lot of this developed world garbage ends up in less developed nations where people, often children, forage through the materials looking for small bits of precious metal that can be salvaged. By doing so, they are exposed to toxins that for most of us are heavily regulated and kept in low concentrations. These toxins include substances such as mercury, lead, chromium, beryllium, and others.
The results can be devastating and include brain damage, birth defects, and cancer among others.

The amount of e-waste is growing. In an article from National Geographic Magazine in 2008 Chris Carroll wrote: "It is estimated that more than 70% of discarded computers and monitors, and well over 80% of TVs, eventually end up in landfills..."TVs, computers, monitors. These are everyday things that most people have. You can imagine the incredible volume of resulting waste. The problem only gets worse. As technology becomes more readily available, more items are added to this list: iPods, cellphones, solar panels, the list goes on.

The disposal or export of e-waste is loosely regulated; the government hasn't shown  much interest; at present, there is no law requiring it to be recycled. As a result, most e-waste is exported rather tan kept and recycled. The EPA estimates that it is up to ten times more expensive to process e-waste here, than to simply dispose of it somewhere else. This further slows the recycling of electronic waste. Eventually, our waste will start to accumulate in less developed nations and someone will have to deal with it sooner or later. Why not start now? Here is some information provided by the EPA about recycling electronic products.


Bharat Bhushan Jain said...

What I have understood from this article that one must not get inspired or influenced from the attractive advertisements to purchase new e-products. We hardly use all the features provided in the e-products, by which we get attracted towards them. We must limit our purchases made out of attraction or curiousity for the attractive features, which we hardly use in our daily life.
I appreciate the write-up. It is a very good initiation. Keep it up.

Bharad said...

Nice article!