HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Environment & Energy (Group) » When It Comes to E-Waste,...

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:06 AM

When It Comes to E-Waste, Be Afraid—Be Very Afraid

For every new laptop or next generation iPhone released, there are a slew of redundant old devices that wind up auctioned on eBay or donated to local charities. While some discarded electronics can be reused once or twice, eventually every product reaches the end of its lifespan, becoming electronic waste—or e-waste.

The rapidly growing inventory of outdated electronics fuels a growing e-waste recycling industry. Around 20 to 50 metric tons of this stuff is generated worldwide each year. Most of the developed world’s discarded devices wind up in Africa, China or India, where they are broken down to recover valuable materials. Most of this so-called recycling is largely unregulated and informal, and potentially serves as a major source of environmental contamination and a hazard to human health.

While we would like to think that recycling our old electronics is a socially and environmentally responsible action, the ultimate fate of e-waste and its impacts are not clear.

At the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston, a panel of experts discussed what’s being done and what more is needed in order to better understand and regulate e-waste around the world.


4 replies, 1494 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 4 replies Author Time Post
Reply When It Comes to E-Waste, Be Afraid—Be Very Afraid (Original post)
Sherman A1 Feb 2013 OP
Lifelong Protester Feb 2013 #1
hootinholler Feb 2013 #2
FedUpWithIt All Feb 2013 #3
Post removed Sep 2013 #4

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 09:28 AM

1. What about all those 'light up' tennis shoes

you see on kids? Where do they go? What kind of battery do they have?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Lifelong Protester (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 11:01 AM

2. No battery, piezoelectric. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Feb 28, 2013, 01:37 PM

3. Where does e-waste end up...


E-waste is routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones, often in violation of the international law. Inspections of 18 European seaports in 2005 found as much as 47 percent of waste destined for export, including e-waste, was illegal. In the UK alone, at least 23,000 metric tonnes of undeclared or 'grey' market electronic waste was illegally shipped in 2003 to the Far East, India, Africa and China. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the waste collected for recycling is being exported in this way. This practice is legal because the US has not ratified the Basel Convention.

Mainland China tried to prevent this trade by banning the import of e-waste in 2000. However, we have discovered that the laws are not working; e-waste is still arriving in Guiya of Guangdong Province, the main centre of e-waste scrapping in China.

We have also found a growing e-waste trade problem in India. 25,000 workers are employed at scrap yards in Delhi alone, where 10-20000 tonnes of e-waste is handled each year, 25 percent of this being computers. Other e-waste scrap yards have been found in Meerut, Ferozabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to FedUpWithIt All (Reply #3)

Reply to this thread