Friday, May 1, 2015

Electronic Waste

    These articles from discoverynews.com and the BBC are about the record-breaking amount of electrical waste in 2014.  When it comes to waste we usually think about trash, junk, and anything that is old, outdated, or something we simply don’t want. Electrical waste is one of the most toxic forms of waste because humans and the environment are exposed to cadmium, lead, beryllium, mercury, and polyvinyl chloride. Less than one-sixth of all e-waste was properly recycled and last year 41.8 million tons of e-waste was dumped. Reports found that the United States and China generated the most waste and accounted for 32%, in terms of volume, of the entire world’s total. Japan, Germany, and India followed after. The United States per-capita waste per person was 48 pounds per person. European countries surprisingly had the largest per-capita per country. Switzerland generated 58 pound per person, Iceland with 57 pounds, Denmark with 52 pounds, and France with 48 pounds per person. The combined value of this e-waste is worth about $52 billion dollars and is toxic waste that is contributing to the destruction of our planet.
    I was surprised to learn about the amount of electrical waste! I always wondered what happened to these microwaves, dishwashers, computers, and bulk items were trashed and recycled. It’s sad to see that there were two Responsible Electronic Recycling Acts in 2013 and 2014 not get passed. That just allows our country to ship our waste to third world nations already facing much larger crises, now left to deal with our waste. I believe we would handle our waste differently if we were not able to ship it out of the country and have to manage it on our own. It also leads me to the question of technology and our society. Since we are so technologically advanced, are these companies aware of the damage they are creating by introducing a new electronic item to the market every year? I think there need to be some laws passed to change this. Jobs can be created to recycle these products and credits could be offered to customers who send back electrical items they no longer need.
--Alex Banks

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