Electronic Waste – "E-Waste "


"E-Waste" is used as a generic term embracing various types of waste containing mainly electronic components: Computers, monitors, television sets, hi-fi sets, mobile phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), game consoles, electronics from industrial sources and the like. It includes computers, entertainment electronics, mobile phones etc which have been disposed of by their original users. In most cases, e-waste comprises of relatively expensive and essentially durable products used for data processing, telecommunications or entertainment in private households and businesses.Electronic waste contains both valuable as well as harmful materials. These materials require special handling and recycling methods.

Electrical equipment waste is growing three times faster than total municipal solid waste (MSW). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates electronics comprise somewhere between 1 percent and 4 percent of the MSW stream--the high-end estimate means approximately 10 million tons of E-waste is disposed annually.

A lot of end-of-life electronics are neither disposed of nor recycled--much of it, especially old PCs, presently sits in storage in homes, offices, and warehouses. Some people either put an item aside and forget about it, or harbor privacy concerns and are reluctant to part with it. Others simply don't want to pay recycling fees or don't know what to do with these objects. This further complicates the issue of E-waste management because recyclers cannot gain access to the valuable resources these electronics contain.

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates almost 100 million computers and monitors become obsolete annually, and about 130 million mobile phones are discarded. The International Association of Electronics Recyclers estimates 20 million televisions become obsolete each year. According to EPA, however, last year only about 10 million monitors and televisions and 15 million computers showed up in landfills and recycling centers.

E-Waste Impacts

Many end-of-life electronics items contain valuable elements such as gold, silver, and platinum. Unfortunately, E-waste can also contain potentially harmful substances such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. Regardless of whether its elements are valuable or potentially hazardous, handling and recovery of E-waste can be a costly undertaking. These considerations have led to intense debate about how E-waste can best be managed.

While there is no widespread indication of elevated levels of heavy metals in leachate (a liquid formed when rainwater enters a landfill and mixes with materials in the landfill) collected at well-designed landfills, there is cause for concern about long-term landfill performance. Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) in televisions and computer monitors contain about four pounds of lead apiece. Cell phone circuitry, batteries, and liquid crystal displays contain heavy metals.

There are also concerns about landfill toxins such as mercury, problematic levels of emissions from E-waste incineration, and exposure problems arising from poorly designed E-waste recovery and recycling operations. High labor and environmental control cost requirements are economic disincentives to E-waste recycling domestically. As a result, much E-waste recycling has shifted to overseas operations where labor costs and compliance requirements are lower.

E-Waste Information
Universal Waste Information
Computer ewaste recycling
Computer Monitor Recycling
Appliance Recycling
Fluorescent Lamps and Ballast
Mercury Containing Devices (MCD)
Battery Recycling
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