Why Should We Care? by Green Diva Meg
These posts explore a myriad of topics relating to green, sustainable and healthy living and offer simple and clear information from the fun and quirky point of view of the Green Divas. Each post provides practical, no nonsense information on What Can We Do to make a difference.
WHY SHOULD WE CARE . . . ABOUT ELECTRONIC WASTE or eWASTE?
Ok. Show of hands. (Just pretend with me) How many of you had at LEAST one person in the house get a new electronic gadget this recent holiday season? How many of those electronic gadgets (being cell phones, laptops, DVD players, TVs, etc.) are replacing electronics that will get tossed out? I still imagine a LOT of hands are up . . .
We produce 20 – 50 metric tons of e-waste every year,
but ONLY ABOUT 15% OF IT GETS RECYCLED!
If you are looking for a way to imagine this tonnage – is about the equivalent of tossing 100,000 fully loaded 747s into landfills! Can you say YIKES!
So, What is eWaste?
Discarded . . .
- Cell phones
- TVs, DVRs, etc.
- Even refrigerators
One problem is that many electronics are frequently replaced:
- Cell phones every 22 months!
- Computers every 2 years
- Portable music players (ipods, etc.) every 2 – 3 years
- DVD player every 4 – 5 years
- TVs about every 10 years
2% of the average municipal waste stream is eWaste = enough to fill over 60 landfills!
- The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that only 15-20% of e-waste is recycled, the rest go directly into landfills and incinerators – not good.
- 70% of heavy metals in landfills in the US, comes from eWaste
Electronic toxins are a hazard to US and the environment!
Just SOME of these toxins include: Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Dioxins, Lead, Mercury, Nickel, PCBs, PVC – the LEAST of these are poisonous, most are carcinogenic and highly toxic to our vital organs.
Of course, the most affected by these toxins, are those that are deconstructing it – too many are men, women and children who work largely unprotected in countries like China, Ghana, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Ahhhhhhhh . . .
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Responsibly Disposal of eWaste!
- Donate used electronics to local charities (such as cell phones to battered women’s shelters). Check out Goodwill Industries which uses their recycling program as a job training program, so its a win, win, win. Cell phones are often recycled to battered women’s organizations.
- Find an e-cycling program near you – PLEASE try to verify that they DO NOT send their eWaste overseas!
- Get Active – California had the right idea when they passed the Electronic Waste Recycling Act in 2003, which requires consumers to pay a fee for certain types of electronics, and that money is redistributed to recycling companies that are qualified to properly recyclethese products. If you aren’t in CA, what is YOUR state doing
Listen to our Sleeping Naked is Green segment on how to Dispose of eWaste Responsibly
sources for this story include: Treehugger.com & Wikipedia
The Green Divas Radio Show, podcasts, audio vignettes and blog posts feature fun and low-stress ways to live a deeper shade of green, while maintaining some comfort and style. Green Diva Meg, co-host Green Diva Lisa and sidekick, Green Dude Scott offer tons of easily accessible information and resources to help make the journey to a more sustainable world easier and a little more fun and entertaining. The radio show broadcasts live every Saturday morning from WMTR 1250 AM in Northern, NJ/NY Metro area, streaming live on WMTRam.com, or catch up on the podcast.