Friday, December 24, 2010

Buying electronic stuff this holiday and going forward

The time that those wonderful electronic gadgets spend with us are but a moment in the gadget’s life. As responsible citizens and consumers we must begin thinking of the complete lifecycle of all products we buy, including all those computers, cell phones, and other electronic stuff that is going to make our future world run.

The resources needed for an electronic gadget, the making of the gadget and what happens to it when it leaves your stewardship, should be your concern. There are toxic materials in those gadgets and heavy metals and when not made and recycled responsibly are wreaking havoc on people’s health and our environmental health. There is a new e-waste law coming this April for New York State, but it will be phased in over time.

The Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Ac t- The NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act (PDF) (38 kb) (Article 27, Title 26 of the Environmental Conservation Law) was signed into law by the Governor on May 28, 2010. The law will ensure that every New Yorker will have the opportunity to recycle their electronic waste in an environmentally responsible manner. The law requires manufacturers to establish a convenient system for the collection, handling, and recycling or reuse of electronic waste. Manufacturers of covered electronic equipment will be responsible for implementing and maintaining an acceptance program for the discarded electronic waste, with oversight by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Laws are great, but they only go so far. If you want an environmentally healthy planet, you have to find out more about e-wastes, as it gets complicated. Check out this very informative interview:

After Dump, What Happens To Electronic Waste? : NPR "Many people will receive a new computer or cell phone this holiday season — and throw out their old equipment. And when old TVs and computers end up in landfills, the toxic metals and flame retardants they contain can cause environmental problems. Yet even recycling your e-waste, as it's called, does not always mean you're doing the right thing. " Fresh Air from WHYY : NPR

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