Tuesday, May 26, 2009

neat essay


Dumping On Consumer Electronics

By Dave Jansen | Friday | 22/05/2009
We live in highly technologically advanced times. The world around us is driven by electronics, both consumer and commercial. We use them with wanton abandon and produce millions of new products every year.

The problem is, we don't generally think about what happens to the products we throw away when it's time to replace our phones, computers, MP3 players and whatnot. This rubbish is known as electronic waste (e-waste) and presents massive challenges when it comes to safe disposal and recycling.

In Australia, most of our e-waste ends up in rubbish dumps. There is no government legislation outlawing e-waste being dumped at the tip, so most of us don't give it a second thought when he put it in the trash. The concerns that many environmentalists cite is that these products contain harmful chemicals and metals such as mercury and lead as well as a range of other toxins. Once these break down and get into the soil it can have dramatic effects on the environment including health concerns if it seeps into the water supply.

E-waste is a hot topic at the moment, with many countries looking to address it in a variety of ways. In November 2008, Australia opened an automated recycling plant in Sydney which can process 20,000 tonnes of e-waste a year. However, we tend to produce around 140,000 tonnes so, while a good step, it isn't an overall solution.

Overseas, e-waste recycling programs have been put in place but even they aren't entirely sufficient. While some recycling is being done locally, a great deal of e-waste is being sent to countries like China and Pakistan where they are being broken down in unsafe and even fatal ways. There was a 60 minutes report that spoke of a village in China where a crude form of recycling was being done by impoverished workers in slum-like conditions.

Dumping On Consumer Electronics

By Dave Jansen | Friday | 22/05/2009

In Australia, there is talk of implementing an import tax on some electronics to pay for e-waste recycling costs. There is also a company called 1800ewaste that offers a recycling service for a low cost including pick up and disposal. We spoke to Geordie Gill, General Manager of the company about the services they offer and how they accomplish their recycling. He assured us that none of their waste is being sent to countries like China. A great deal of the Australian recycling is done in a plant in Adelaide with the rest being sent to SIMS, a recycling company in Europe.

"All the resources that go into electronics can be recycled but are simply thrown out each year but that isn't solely the problem", Mr. Sims said, "The government should take control of the situation and ban e-waste in tips".

He went on to say that he had been in talks with major electronics manufacturers to attempt to get them to include recycling in the ticket price of their products. He was told that the profit margins of electronics is so tight that offering a recycling service at an additional cost to the consumer would make it hard to compete in the market.

As it stands at the moment, there is no legal requirement to recycle your electronics. There are drop of points for mobile phones already in place by come phone companies and computer companies like Dell and HP offer recycling but in the end, at least for now, the responsibility lies with the consumers.

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