Electronic Waste

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Electronic waste
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the EC directive, see Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.

Defective and obsolete electronic equipment.
Electronic waste, e-waste, e-scrap, or waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. There is a lack of consensus as to whether the term should apply to resale, reuse, and refurbishing industries, or only to product that cannot be used for its intended purpose. Informal processing of electronic waste in developing countries may cause serious health and pollution problems, though these countries are also most likely to reuse and repair electronics. Some electronic scrap components, such as CRTs, may contain contaminants such as lead, cadmium, beryllium, orbrominated flame retardants. Even in developed countries recycling and disposal of e-waste may involve significant risk to workers and communities and great care must be taken to avoid unsafe exposure in recycling operations and leaching of material such as heavy metals from landfills and incinerator ashes. Scrap industry and USA EPA officials agree that materials should be managed with caution.[citation needed] Contents

[hide]
1 Definitions
2 Problems
3 Global trade issues
4 E-waste management
o4.1 Recycling
o4.2 Consumer awareness efforts
o4.3 Processing techniques
o4.4 Benefits of recycling
5 Electronic waste substances
o5.1 Hazardous
o5.2 Generally non-hazardous
6 See also
7 References
8 Further reading
9 External links

[edit]Definitions

Hoarding (left), disassembling (center) and collecting (right) electronic waste in Bengaluru, India

"Electronic waste" may be defined as discarded computers, office electronic equipment, entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, television sets andrefrigerators. This definition includes used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal. Others define the re-usables (working and repairable electronics) and secondary scrap (copper, steel, plastic, etc.) to be "commodities", and reserve the term "waste" for residue or material which is dumped by the buyer rather than recycled, including residue from reuse and recycling operations. Because loads of surplus electronics are frequently commingled (good, recyclable, and non-recyclable), several public policy advocates apply the term "e-waste" broadly to all surplus electronics. Cathode ray tubes (CRT) are considered one of the hardest types to recycle.[1] CRTs have relatively high concentration of lead and phosphors (not to be confused with phosphorus), both of which are necessary for the display. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) includes discarded CRT monitors in its category of "hazardous household waste"[2] but considers CRTs that have been set aside for testing to be commodities if they are not discarded, speculatively accumulated, or left unprotected from weather and other damage. Debate continues over the distinction between "commodity" and "waste" electronics definitions. Some exporters are accused of deliberately leaving difficult-to-recycle, obsolete, or non-repairable equipment mixed in loads of working equipment (though this may also come through ignorance, or to avoid more costly treatment processes). Protectionists may broaden the definition of "waste" electronics in order to protect domestic markets from working secondary equipment. The high value of the computer recycling subset of electronic waste (working and reusable laptops, desktops, and components like RAM) can help pay the cost of transportation for a larger number of worthless pieces than can be achieved with display devices, which have less (or negative) scrap value. In A 2011 report, "Ghana E-Waste Country Assessment",[3] found that of 215,000 tons of electronics imported to Ghana, 30% were brand new and 70% were used. Of the used product, the study...
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