Show Sidebar Log in

Electronic Waste

You are currently viewing a revision titled "Electronic Waste", saved on October 8, 2013 at 4:18 am by Devan Bätz
Title
Electronic Waste
Content

Context within NORA

Relationships to needs

Electronics produce a lot of waste across a wide variety of mediums. The typical computer will produce a lot of waste metals (of varying characteristics), rubber, glass, and plastics.

Relationships to other resources

  • Unsafe disposal of e-waste can lead to the pollution of land, air, and water, as well as taking up more space in landfills.
  • Recycling materials will decrease demand for new materials to be produced.
    • Even if demand remains constant, overall price for certain materials will go down due to more of it being available

Relationships to creating abundance

  • Decreased space taken up in landfills will lead to more land available for other endeavors
  • Decreased presence in landfills will lead to less air, water, and land pollution, resulting in a healthier environment
  • More of a given resource (copper, tin, etc) in trade from recycling

Current disposal

Ghana

E-waste is often carted over to Ghana for incredibly low prices by many companies. In Ghana, it is usually dumped into huge scrapyards that completely lack any sort of protection, causing harmful components like mercury, brominated fire retardants, and lead to leak into the soil and water.

In the scrapyard, workers with little pay and less protection search for the valuable components among the junk, prying the electronics open for valuable metals. What rubber and plastic remains is either dumped into a landfill, which pollutes the soil and water, or simply burned, which pollutes the air.

Guiyu

Guiyu, a city in southern China, is home to a similar situation as Ghana's, on a far greater scale. Referred to as the "E-Waste Capital of the World," Guiyu employs well over 150,000 workers that pick through scrapyards and dumps for cables, chips, boards, cases, and batteries for reprocessing. Like in Ghana, there is rampant uncontrolled burning, grinding of plastics, and disposal that causes much pollution, leading to severe local health problems, especially lead poisoning.

eCycling

The EPA currently maintains a database of locations per state where electronics can be donated and recycled.

Alternatives

Rather than buying a new product, consider:

  • Replacing one component or the software
  • Buy every other new model, rather than every single new model

Phonebloks

Phonebloks is a project to create a phone that is modular, not unlike computers or laptops. The core of the phone is simply a circuit board with a touch screen; the rest of the functionality comes in a diverse collection of 'bloks' that are attached to the back and secured with a panel. Every bit of hardware is customizable, from the screen and internal memory to a camera or microphone. Most of the bloks would be user-contributed by various startups in addition to established brands. Very little hardware would be replaced, on a very seldom basis.

Sources

  • http://www.unep.org/PDF/PressReleases/E-Waste_publication_screen_FINALVERSION-sml.pdf
  • http://www.ewasa.org/
  • http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/01/high-tech-trash/carroll-text.html
  • http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/features/poisoning-the-poor-electroni/
  • http://www.ban.org/E-waste/technotrashfinalcomp.pdf
  • http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/index.htm
  • http://www.phonebloks.com/
Excerpt


Old New Date Created Author Actions
May 6, 2014 at 2:54 am Wolfgang Höschele
May 6, 2014 at 2:45 am Wolfgang Höschele
May 3, 2014 at 3:15 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 3:13 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 3:11 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 2:59 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 2:43 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 2:39 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 2:32 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 2:25 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 12:28 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 12:25 am Kathryn Bielecki
May 3, 2014 at 12:21 am Kathryn Bielecki
April 29, 2014 at 9:12 pm Kathryn Bielecki
April 29, 2014 at 9:07 pm Kathryn Bielecki
April 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm Kathryn Bielecki
April 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm Kathryn Bielecki
April 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm Kathryn Bielecki
January 16, 2014 at 3:24 am Wolfgang Höschele
January 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm Wolfgang Höschele
January 15, 2014 at 3:40 am Wolfgang Höschele
January 15, 2014 at 3:23 am Wolfgang Höschele
December 25, 2013 at 6:05 pm Wolfgang Höschele
December 3, 2013 at 5:48 am Devan Bätz
November 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm Devan Bätz
November 7, 2013 at 7:00 am Wolfgang Höschele
October 8, 2013 at 4:18 am Devan Bätz
Skip to toolbar