Friday, February 4, 2011

About E-Waste

What is E-Waste?

E-waste stands for electronic waste. This includes anything from discarded and broken cell phones, to computers, iPods, and small appliances.

Why do we have so much E-Waste?

North America is dealing with a crisis of overconsumption, which produces a variety of harmful consequences. In this digital age, our society has become heavily immersed in technology. Due to this we have a surplus of electronics, obsolete or loose scraps, that are irresponsibly discarded by citizens and electronic recycling companies that claim they are 'green'. Unfortunately, the production, consumption and ultimate disposal of e-waste is sped up with planned obsolescence, when products are intentionally designed to have a short lifespan-- they either break quickly and cannot be repaired inexpensively, or new versions are continually being designed to replace older ones.

What are the problems with E-waste?

When e-waste is disposed of, it is often sent overseas where people in poorer, developing nations take apart the products in an effort to recycle them. Some recycling companies that appear to be reputable engage in this practice as well. North America and Europe are known to export a large percentage of their e-waste to countries like India, China, and Ghana.

It is these populations that suffer the dreadful side effects of e-waste. These electronics contain powerful and toxic chemicals, lead, beryllium, and mercury to name a few, which are affecting the health of many. In the process of taking the electronics apart, these workers are exposed to dangerous toxins, putting themselves, their families and their environment at risk. Their health and lifestyle are put in danger, and with this digital age flourishing, with no ending in near time, the amount of e-waste still to come is unfathomable.

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