The growing E-waste problem

If your current PC is too slow or running out of storage space, it’s probably more cost-effective to replace it than to upgrade it. But what happens to your computer once you replace it? The workplace mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle” often ends with office paper and aluminum soda cans. As a result, myriad computers considered obsolete by today’s standards sit unused in back rooms or end up in landfills.

Compared to recycling programs for other materials, such as aluminum, the recycling process for lectronic waste,or “e-waste,” is in its infancy. Approximately half of all states are developing or implementing e-waste recycling programs, also known as “e-cycling.” However, there is no consistent approach to e-waste management. One reason is that recycling electronics kile PCs and televisions is labor-intensive, involving “demanufacturing,” or the disassembly and separation of highly engineered plastics,circuit boards, wires, and other components. In addition, no official certification processcurrently exists e-waste recyclers Recycling advocates say much of the e-waste collected in the sold to brokers, shipped to Asia, and then stripped of any valuable material before being dumped.

This article examines the extent of the e-waste issue, its environmental impacts, laws and regulations, and also provides issues to consider.

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