Saturday, October 30, 2010

Recycling Electronic Waste (e-waste) responsibly


The days where New Yorkers can simply march their e-waste to the curb and forget them are coming to a close.  There’s a new law in town:

Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation “Beginning April 1, 2011, manufacturers of covered electronic equipment [those covered by the law] will be required to accept the following: computers, televisions (as well as cathode ray tubes), small scale servers, computer peripherals (monitors, electronic keyboards, electronic mice or similar pointing devices, facsimile machines, document scanners, printers), small electronic equipment (VCRs, digital video recorders, portable digital music players, DVD players, digital converter boxes, cable or satellite receivers, electronic or video game consoles.”

But rules and regulations are not enough.  We have to be sure that all these e-gadgets get recycled properly by people who know what they’re doing.  Otherwise this happens:

Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste - 60 Minutes - CBS News “60 Minutes Follows America's Toxic Electronic Waste As It Is Illegally Shipped To Become China's Dirty Secret |This story was first published on Nov. 9, 2008. It was updated on Aug. 27, 2009. 60 Minutes is going to take you to one of the most toxic places on Earth -- a place that government officials and gangsters don't want you to see. It's a town in China where you can't breathe the air or drink the water, a town where the blood of the children is laced with lead. It's worth risking a visit because, as correspondent Scott Pelley first reported last November, much of the poison is coming out of the homes, schools and offices of America.”

Standards must be created so that a way to assure the public that when they do recycle their toxic electronic waste it is done so properly.  

Find out about e-stewards and find out if where you recycle your e-waste they are e-steward certified—or if they are certified who has certified them and what it means.   Sound like a lot of trouble to go through?  Not once certification and monitoring and policing the waste stream are made sustainable.

e-Stewards "The e-Stewards Initiative is a project of the Basel Action Network (BAN), which is a 501(c)3 non-profit, charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, Washington. It is against the backdrop of the growing e-waste crisis that the e-Stewards Initiative was born. Without appropriate national and international legislation or enforcement in place in many regions, it is unfortunately left up to individual citizens, corporations, universities, cities – all of us – to figure out how to prevent the toxic materials in electronics from continuing to cause long term harm to human health and the environment, particularly in countries with developing economies. "


Environament Clean Partner said...

Not fair at all, why does children in China has to suffer because of our lethargic attitude, we should make use of the E-waste camps and recycle them accordingly rather than sending e-waste to other parts of the world.

Robin said...

Well, I welcome people voicing their opinions and helping to move e-waste management in a better direction. There is certainly room for improvement. You should note, however, that the reaction to the E-Stewards campaign and the 60 Minutes piece in the importing nations was bitter. For example, most of the imports of used CRTs, like the ones in Hong Kong in the 60 Minutes episode, are purchased back by sustainable factories (you will notice exactly NONE of the ones in the Hong Kong segment of 60 Minutes appear in the Guiyu segment). Americans need to pursue Fair Trade policy, but not to promote racist imagery of the Technicians overseas who buy product which Americans are too lazy to reuse or repair.