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E-waste

From Academic Kids

The term e-waste is applied to all waste from or caused by electronics, which is often toxic waste. It is a major concern with respect to wireless technology and computers, which are readily discarded due to rapid technological change, low initial cost and planned obsolescence. Various solutions including recycling, re-use and the standardization of technologies for less rapid obsolecence are applied.

Contents

Types of e-waste

Problems caused by e-waste

Due to lower environmental standards and working conditions in China and India, e-waste is being sent to these countries for processing. Bangalore in India and the Guiyu area in the Chaozhou region of China have e-waste processing areas. Uncontrolled burning and disposal are causing environmental problems due to the methods of processing the waste. Trade in e-waste is controlled by the Basel Convention.

E-waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity of some of the substances present. The toxicity is due in part to lead, mercury and cadmium. A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight. Up to thirty-six separate chemical elements are incorporated into e-waste items. The unsustainability of discarded electronics and computer technology is another reason for the need to recycle e-waste.

E-waste presents difficulties for recycling due the complexity of each item and lack of viable recycling systems. Many of the plastics used in electronic equipment contain flame retardants. These are generally halogens added to the plastic resin. These plastics are difficult to recycle.

Trends in e-waste recycling

In the 1990's some European countries banned the disposal of e-waste to landfills. This created an e-waste processing industry in Europe. From early 2003 the EU introduced the WEEE and RoHS directives.

Some states in the US developed policy banning CRT's from landfills. Some e-waste processing is carried out within the US. The processing may be dismantling into metals, plastics and circuit boards or shredding of whole appliances. From 2004 the state of California will introduce a fee on all new monitors and televisions sold to cover the cost of recycling. The amount of fee depends on the size of the monitor. That amount will be adjusted on July 1, 2005 in order to match the real cost of recycling.

The European Union, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have already demanded that sellers and manufacturers of electronics be responsible for recycling 75% of them.

Many Asian countries have legislated, or will do so, for e-waste recycling.

Chemical elements contained in e-waste

Heavy metals

lead, zinc, chromium, cadmium, mercury

Elements in trace amounts

germanium, gallium, barium, nickel, tantalum, indium, vanadium, terbium, beryllium, gold, europium, titanium, ruthenium, cobalt, palladium, manganese, silver, antinomy, bismuth, selenium, niobium, yttrium, rhodium, platinum, arsenic

Other

silicon, carbon, iron, aluminium, tin, copper

See also

External links



Topics related to waste edit  (http://footwww.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php?title=Template:Waste&action=edit)
Compost | Dustbins | E-waste | Garbage truck | Garbology | Greywater | Incineration | Landfill | Pollution
Radioactive waste | Recycling | Sewage | Scrap | Sewage treatment | Toxic waste | Waste management
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