Forum latest

Report: America Shipping Its Tech Trash Overseas
General
Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 22 November 2007 09:43

Tech trash is a dirty little secret of the international community
Jason Mick (Blog) - November 21, 2007 9:54 AM
DailyTech

Is recycling always a good thing? Obviously paper, plastic and metal recycling programs have been very successful in the U.S. in replenishing petrochemicals, paper, and ores. What about the newer practice of "tech recycling"?

This is the issue examined by a new Associated Press report which slams the American tech industry for what AP reporters see as a recycling electronics facade. According to the report, U.S. citizens think they are doing something positive by turning in their electronics to "recyclers", but instead of being recycled, these companies simply manage a global flow of electronics trash.



The practice both contributes to hazardous waste disposal and exposure in poverty stricken nations.

The conditions that workers at international "recycling" plants deal with are quite appalling according to the report. Workers work without protective equipment using crude hammers, gas burners, and bare hands to pry apart electronics and burn off valuable substances. In the process they are being exposed to a wide array of toxins, which in the U.S. would only be handled with protective equipment, for fear of damaging health effects.

The report cites estimates that 50 to 80 percent of the 300,000 to 400,000 tons of electronics collected for recycling in the U.S. each year ends up undergoing this overseas journey. Thus your cell phone bin in your local supermarket may be causing toxic exposure to someone in China, unbeknownst to you.

"It is being recycled, but it's being recycled in the most horrific way you can imagine," said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, a Seattle-based environmental group tech group, of tech recycling efforts. "We're preserving our own environment, but contaminating the rest of the world."

Industry officials are cited in the article as stating that much of the trash was collecting during Earth Day drives by schools, companies, and local government. These groups typically go for the cheapest recycler to dispose of their collections and do not question, what exactly these firms do with the waste.

These recyclers often sell the few working units and send the rest overseas.

The problem is likely to skyrocket soon, as many states are banning the disposal of electronics waste in landfills. California recently became the first state to mandate cell phone recycling. These bans and mandates will drive much of the 2 million tons of electronics waste discarded yearly by Americans into the poorly regulated recycling industry. The end result -- more exports.

China bans the import of used electronics and is waging a constant war against importers.... More      Comment in the Forums
 

See also

None found.


Hardware | Windows | Linux | Security | Mobile Devices | Gaming
Tech Business | Editorial | General News | folding@home

Forum | Download Files

Copyright ©2001 - 2012, AOA Forums.  All rights reserved.

Alliance of Overclocking Arts

Links monetized by VigLink

Don't Click Here Don't Click Here Either