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E-Waste Management

The numbers of electronic and electrical wastes being disposed are increasing every year. In the United States, the National Safety Council estimates that about 63 million computers were disposed in 2005 which is about 5.3 billion pounds of electronic wastes. Electronic wastes are mounting every year, which is why electronic and electrical waste management is very important.

Improper disposing of electronic waste could be dangerous since they are made of materials that can be very hazardous. Electronic materials like computers, televisions, batteries and similar items could cause lead and other chemical contamination on soil and water supply. These e-toxic components could actually come from the heavy metals, cables and plastic used to create the computers.

Electronic wastes that are not properly distributed have detrimental effects on the environment and human health. Electronic and electrical wastes produce leachates, especially those that are brought to landfills. They can cause acidification and chemical contamination of the soil. They can also cause serious problems to bodies of water where e-waste was dispose. Acids and sludges can be found in rivers and other bodies of water.

When e-wastes are burned, they produce serious environmental problems. They release toxic fumes and gases. Landfills that have electronic wastes dumped are very susceptible to uncontrolled fires. Metals and other chemical substances could be very toxic when exposed to fire and hear. Landfills and incinerators are strictly monitored by government agencies to ensure that these dangers would not happen to communities surrounding the community.

Government agencies are implementing stricter rules about e-waste disposal. A kind of waste management strategy would be the use of EPR or extended product responsibility. In this regulation, the manufacturer would be responsible in collecting and disposing products used by the customers.

Because consumer have to idea on how to manage their wastes, about 75 % of their electronic items are stored because they have no idea what to with it. They get stored in their garages, offices or warehouses.

There are methods on how consumers could handle their e-waste without compromising the environment:

• Always be aware on the regulations covering e-waste disposal.

• In the first place, shopping green would help you be more environment-friendly. You could always ask the manufacturers about the “green” component of their products. There are also third party firms that would label or evaluate electronic items for being environmentally safe. You could always look for their logos and ratings.

• Re-use or resell your e-wastes, especially if they are still working. Even if they are not really state of the art technology, there are some people would still be able to use and benefit from them.

• You could look for recycling centers in your area that would readily buy your electrical items.

• You could always donate old but still working electronic wastes like old television set or desktop.

E-waste management is not just a problem of the government or the manufacturer nor the responsibility of the environmentalists. It is a social issue and everybody would get affected on the long run. So everybody should participate in addressing this concern.


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