backtop


Print 66 comment(s) - last by phxfreddy.. on Aug 9 at 6:29 PM


  (Source: Natalie Behring/Greenpeace)
The U.S. government aims to stamp out trash exporting, while environmental lobbies put pressure on big business

The “tech trash” subject is a controversial one in the U.S. and abroad.  For the last decade, the U.S. has been shipping growing amounts of electronics trash to foreign countries, particularly third world and developing nations.  China is among the prime targets, and despite laws put in place against the practice, the trash continues to pour in.

The U.S. government, particularly Congress, has grown increasingly upset about the image the U.S. is projecting by shipping its tech trash overseas.  Now they are looking to act with new e-waste legislation on the table.  U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, last week introduced legislation which would ban the export of toxic e-waste to developing nations.  Analysts predict the legislation might have enough support to pass by next year.

Part of the reason for the rise in concern, analysts say is the eyesore of a problem is getting harder to ignore.  With Americans owning roughly 3 billion gadgets, including desktops, laptops, cell phones, and PDAs, there is a tremendous amount of tech trash generated each year.  In 1998, 20 million computers were estimated to be disposed of annually.  In 2005, despite increased recycling rates the estimate was up to 37 million.

While the overall waste only accounts for a small percentage of the total trash, it is growing.  And with 2.25 million tons in the last two years and only 18 percent being recycled, the problem is becoming more and more noticeable.

According to advocates, when this waste is shipped overseas and broken down by impoverished locals, mercury, lead, and brominated flame retardants are frequently reduced.  Locals often work with no gloves and face heavy exposure to these chemicals that have been shown to have a wide array of health effects.

Another emerging crisis is the switch to digital TV.  With the signals fully switching in February 2009, it is predicted that 32 million digital televisions will bought, meaning millions of old models will likely be trashed.  These old models will likely cause a massive surge in tech trash for the year.  Older CRT (cathode ray tube) models frequently have as much as four pounds of lead a piece. 

Barbara Kyle, national coordinator for the nonprofit Electronics TakeBack Coalition warns people that "recycling" efforts may not be all they're cracked up to be.  Many recycling initiatives collect massive amounts of tech waste and then ship it overseas and then pocket the small profit.

Ms. Kyle insists that only if companies themselves adopt national take back programs will the practice be suitable for regulation and the misbehavior able to be stopped.  Of all the manufacturers of TVs, until recently, only Sony was progressive enough to adopt such policies, she said.  Sony offers a free take back program at its affiliated retailers.  In a Congressional report Sony stated that it was perhaps the only tech company to ban "the exportation of hazardous waste to developing countries."

Now LG Electronics has decided to side with Sony and is launching its own free recycling initiative.  By September, LG promises to have one recycling center per state.  Some states and government entities such as the surprisingly green state of Texas have recycling programs of their own that are manufacturer neutral.  These programs have been a major factor in upping recycling rates from 15 percent in 1999 to 18 percent in 2005, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

International environmental group Greenpeace, known for some of its more controversial stances, has decided to tackle this slightly less radical issue.  It released a major report on the flow of tech trash to the West African country of Ghana, one of the major destinations after China and India.  The report details the toxic exposure citizens of the country face in their search for aluminum and copper to resell.  It also points out possible environmental damage due to improper disposal.

Greenpeace is trying to convince the world's two largest electronics manufacturers -- Philips and Sharp -- to phase out toxic materials in their electronics and to fully adopt recycling programs.

Still, private and advocate efforts are not enough, according to many members of Congress.  They feel even the EPA, the government agency tasked with dealing with such issues, has disappointed with its inaction.  Rep. Green states, "If the EPA cannot or will not act to halt the toxic e-waste trade to developing nations, then Congress should take action."  



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Trash/treasure
By RaisedinUS on 8/6/2008 12:46:05 PM , Rating: 5
One mans trash......one mans treasure.




RE: Trash/treasure
By arazok on 8/6/2008 12:51:00 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly.

How is banning trash exporting in the interests is the United States? I see only benefits unless you’re a congressman looking for reelection.


RE: Trash/treasure
By abscoder on 8/6/2008 12:53:42 PM , Rating: 2
My initial thoughts too. But maybe we're concerned that the waste will not be properly handled and treated, leading to further environmental decay, which eventually affects everyone.


RE: Trash/treasure
By AstroCreep on 8/6/2008 2:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But maybe we're concerned that the waste will not be properly handled and treated, leading to further environmental decay, which eventually affects everyone.


That's exactly the concern; people with no real experience (to speak of, anyway) dismantling equipment with innards composed of material that has been proven to be toxic. Not only are they at risk with their lack of protective equipment and proper facilities but the environmental impact it may have as well.
Environment as a whole, by the way, not just the receiving 'developing country'.


RE: Trash/treasure
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/08, Rating: -1
RE: Trash/treasure
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/6/2008 2:27:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Anyone who pretends that dismantling a cell phone in India is going to "disrupt the enviroment" especially here in the US should be locked away in a padded cell.


I think the chief concern is the sheer amount of lead and other toxins found in bigger electronics like TVs. Sure a cell phone might contain just micrograms of mercury, but a TV can contain pounds of lead. This may indeed "disrupt the environment" if it reaches local water supplies.

Far worse would be the effects on the local populous, though.

Your comment:

quote:

People seem to forget that the small amounts of mercury and lead found in electronics originally came out of the ground in the first place.


is misleading. Yes, lead and mercury come from the ground. Arsenic and cyanide are also in the soil, but try ingesting arsenic and using your argument that its not dangerous in sufficient quantities. If that is not what you're trying to say, that's what it sounds like you're saying and its misleading.

Any medical doctor would tell you that continual skin exposure to lead, mercury, and halogens or inhaling them in fumes can have severe health effects. Further, if these compounds find their way into drinking water supplies, the effects could be even worst and could last generations.

These people are poorly protected and the trash is not being properly disposed of.

This is a human issue, not so much an environmental one.

Perhaps you are correct that it is not as severe in all cases (ie. someone melting down a cell phone) as advocacy groups would have you believe. But its also far more severe than you would like to have people believe with your slippery arguments like "lead is found in the ground!".


RE: Trash/treasure
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/08, Rating: -1
RE: Trash/treasure
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/6/2008 3:19:01 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
The "lead belt" in Southern Missouri has lead deposits containing several hundred million tons of lead, many of which reach to the surface and have surface water or groundwater flowing regularly over them. The environment doesn't seem to be "dirupted" there; in fact, its one of the more ecologically rich areas in the US.


Michael, do you know how ridiculous that comment is from a chemistry standpoint? Lead deposits in the Missouri/Mississippi are fixed in Galena in lead-zinc-fluorite compounds that are minimally soluble. Lead found in solder is slightly more soluble. But more importantly, a frequent practice is hammering and chipping at these boards. Lead dust is the BEST way to get lead poisoning and to spread lead in a water supply.

Lead dust is not going form from a galena rock sitting is some ore deposit sans human intervention, but it will form when you're pounding on a board with 4 pounds of solder. And thats a perfect way to disperse enough lead in time to give a whole community mild to severe lead poisoning.

quote:
But is misuse like that such a severe problem as to warrant an international ban on all shipments of electronic waste to foreign countries? It's lunacy to even propose such draconian measures.


If recycling is so profitable, why not recycle it here and keep the profit in the States?

If its not because of toxins, doesn't this warrant proper disposal from a humanitarian/medical standpoint??

quote:
We ingest arsenic each and every day


You do not ingest large quantities of lead, arsenic, cyanide, etc. daily.

quote:

I agree utterly. And what's better for a human in a nation like Ghana or India-- an easy, well-paying job that allows them to purchase nutritious food, reasonable shelter, and basic medical care, at a very small risk to their long-term health...or to have them starving on the streets, begging for food?


Umm as you pointed out not to long ago, the people in these regions are largely being exploited by local warlords. This money isn't going to them but to the local warchief. This will have little impact on their standard of living, except for exposing them to toxins daily.


RE: Trash/treasure
By arazok on 8/6/2008 3:51:34 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
If recycling is so profitable, why not recycle it here and keep the profit in the States?


Because protectionist nonsense like that ultimately lowers our standard of living. Making dishwashers, shoes, and toys is also profitable, but we do most of it overseas because those countries can do it at a lower cost.

quote:
Umm as you pointed out not to long ago, the people in these regions are largely being exploited by local warlords. This money isn't going to them but to the local warchief. This will have little impact on their standard of living, except for exposing them to toxins daily.
quote:


Nonsense. Those exploited workers earn wages far in excess of what they would ever earn tilling in a farmers field, even if it’s peanuts by our standards. What you call exploitation I call the seeds of a future middle class.

quote:
except for exposing them to toxins daily.


Ask a person with no access to health care and a life expectancy of 35 if he is worried that exposure to these toxins might cause him to get cancer when he turns 50 and he’ll tell you you’re a moron.


RE: Trash/treasure
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/08, Rating: -1
RE: Trash/treasure
By Sandok on 8/9/2008 5:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
I get the feeling you don't care much about the environment at all, and that's your choice but personally, I enjoy taking care of where I live (in this case, planet Earth).

Do you personally think that dumping lead, mercury and other toxic material into the soil good? Try to think long-term, beyond your life; do you think it's smart and prosperous for anyone?

Nothing's wrong about being mindful of your surroundings you know...


RE: Trash/treasure
By Spuke on 8/6/2008 3:21:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
or to have them starving on the streets, begging for food?
If they're begging on the streets because of this it's still our fault because we "teased" them by providing an unhealthy income in the first place.

<Standing on soapbox looking down at the poor masses>We need to teach them how to survive using ecologically friendly methods. And discourage them from the wasteful lifestyle of the West (aka Great Satan).

/dripping sarcasm


RE: Trash/treasure
By arazok on 8/6/2008 3:37:15 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
That's exactly the concern; people with no real experience (to speak of, anyway) dismantling equipment with innards composed of material that has been proven to be toxic. Not only are they at risk with their lack of protective equipment and proper facilities but the environmental impact it may have as well.


And why should the US government be worried if some worker in another country is exposed to these toxins? Isn’t that the responsibility of that countries government? Let them ban it, they don’t vote in US elections, or pay US taxes.

quote:
Environment as a whole, by the way, not just the receiving 'developing country'.


Show me proof that leached lead, mercury, etc somehow makes it to the US and I’ll give your argument some thought. Otherwise, that makes no sense. If a country thinks it’s in their interest to accept mounds of garbage, so be it. Perhaps they are better recyclers then we are and it makes economical AND environmental sense.


RE: Trash/treasure
By wushuktl on 8/6/2008 1:09:16 PM , Rating: 5
are you serious? do all americans think like this? can you think of nobody but yourself?


RE: Trash/treasure
By mdogs444 on 8/6/2008 1:11:38 PM , Rating: 1
Sure we think of other people. Until it gets to the point that those people want, want, and want more...we give it to them, and they still complain.


RE: Trash/treasure
By abscoder on 8/6/2008 1:13:01 PM , Rating: 4
The answer is an obvious no, if you read the article.


RE: Trash/treasure
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2008 1:44:28 PM , Rating: 1
> "can you think of nobody but yourself? "

I think the people starving in Ghana are more than happy to receive our "trash", filled with costly metals they can resell for a profit. Banning e-waste might reduce their chances of cancer by 0.001%...but it most definitely would quadruple their chance of not being able to afford basic healthcare, decent foodstuffs, and other essential components of a modern lifestyle.

Why not think of them, and let them freely choose which alternative is better for them?


RE: Trash/treasure
By phattyboombatty on 8/6/2008 2:26:44 PM , Rating: 3
Bingo. If this is bad for Ghana, let Ghana's government ban the import of US trash. The US legislators should be concerned with the citizens of the US first and foremost. I didn't elect my congressmen to be the world's safety patrol.


RE: Trash/treasure
By Polynikes on 8/6/08, Rating: 0
RE: Trash/treasure
By Kunikos on 8/6/2008 4:32:44 PM , Rating: 3
Perhaps. But should the United States really be viewed in an even poorer light than it already is? Already viewed as an aggressor in world politics, if the US also adds "uncaring world polluter" (something it currently is only starting to be viewed as) then we can guarantee that attacks against America and American nationals and interests abroad will only increase in future years. Do we really need to be viewed as the fat, arrogant, xenophobic, socio-ecological exploiters of the world?


RE: Trash/treasure
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2008 4:42:26 PM , Rating: 2
Is freedom really so difficult a concept to grasp? If another nation considers our trash unwanted or even dangerous, they certainly have the right to ban it. But if China and India want our old metal-bearing electronics, why should we deny it to them?

It's rather silly to ask us to modify our behavior because some pudding-headed ignorant European might have view the situation fallaciously. Let them educate themselves, rather than we sink to their level.


RE: Trash/treasure
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 8/6/2008 6:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
"Do we really need to be viewed as the fat, arrogant, xenophobic, socio-ecological exploiters of the world?"

Hats off to you. Nice grouping of $5.00 words..... :)

I like how people will say the US is an uncaring world polluter as you list. I wonder if the people making this claim have viewed Beijing this morning with the Olympics two days away from starting? After 2 months of shutting down factory's, cutting back on auto traffic the air still looks brown. I've never personally experienced brown air and I live near a very large city in the USA. I would add I hope never to have to experience brown air. Has no one over there had any concern about the pollution levels in the past, oh I don't know 6 or 10 years?


RE: Trash/treasure
By Spuke on 8/6/2008 7:30:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Do we really need to be viewed as the fat, arrogant, xenophobic, socio-ecological exploiters of the world?"
It's easy to throw out names when you're sitting in front of your expensive computer, well fed, educated, and comfortable. Doesn't anyone feel they're blessed anymore?


RE: Trash/treasure
By rcc on 8/6/2008 6:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
In this light, you should be furious with the producing nations. They built this stuff. We just use it for a while and pass it along to where it is wanted when we are done with it.

Oh wait, we created a demand for the product right? So it's ok for them to produce and ship it here. But wait, is there not a demand for the tech trash? We are all just arcs in the circle of life.


RE: Trash/treasure
By arazok on 8/6/2008 5:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say it's you thinking only of yourself.

You clearly take everything modern society offers for granted, and have your head so far up your ass that you can't comprehend that there are people out there so poor that rooting through garbage is actually an improvement to the alternatives (nothing).

You lefties think you know whats best for everyone. did you ever stop to wonder why the importing countries haven't banned it themselves?

Of course, that doesn't fit your illusions of a Utopian society, so you prefer to squash it from existence, even if it condemns millions to poverty.


RE: Trash/treasure
By Spuke on 8/6/2008 6:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
are you serious? do all americans think like this? can you think of nobody but yourself?
We must save all the poor, ignorant savages from their voodoo and all other manner of witchcraftery.


RE: Trash/treasure
By rcc on 8/6/2008 6:49:31 PM , Rating: 3
So, if we get hollered at for playing the "World's Policeman", how is this different? We should butt out and let them run their economies and recycling they way they want to.

Oh, wait, it has ecology or green attached, we are supposed to interfere. Sorry, I have trouble keeping up with the rules.

Remember, we are not dumping this stuff. They are taking it. Were it not so, there would be no shipments.


RE: Trash/treasure
By FITCamaro on 8/6/08, Rating: 0
RE: Trash/treasure
By RaisedinUS on 8/6/2008 1:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
Ya sicko! LOL


RE: Trash/treasure
By Quiescent on 8/6/2008 4:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Some of the electronics that people throw out are still good. Third world countries and/or poor countries could make use of the electronics that still work.

Also, I collect old hardware... My next want is the old school harddrives with their controllers separate and as expansion cards. Yum!


RE: Trash/treasure
By rcc on 8/6/2008 6:58:24 PM , Rating: 2
Welcome purveyors of RLL and MFM drives? Remember the ISA controllers with 4MB of cache on them??? Wow!


Digital Cemeteries
By Suza on 8/7/2008 2:38:41 AM , Rating: 2
It's easy to say that people in China profit from e-waste when you don't know the enviromental consequences for the region. It's our responsibility to choose recycling centers that do it properly. Why? Because we can!

If you're not convinced, maybe this trailer will change your mind? Would you trade places with the people living there?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CN9jnzaqqVs

If you can find the whole documentary, it´s worth watching.




RE: Digital Cemeteries
By Eri Hyva on 8/7/2008 12:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
Digital Cemeteries is an excellent documentary! Highly recommended.
http://www.smallplanet.gr/en/hot-docs/digital-ceme...
http://www.smallplanet.gr/el/digital-cemeteries-pr...
(It was aired on TV here in Finland)

Can't you handle anything there anymore according to your own laws and standards: you export people to Guantanamo Bay, and hazardous waste to China, India, Africa.
Maybe you don't need any landfills on your soil anymore, import all your sh*t to poorer countries, there will always be greedy people out there. Obviously you are so poor that you can't afford to take care of your own sh*t.

It is illegal to import e-waste into China, but bribe dollars are always welcomed to some people.

Check more info about Guiyu
http://www.china-pix.com/multimedia/guiyu/
plenty of more stuff of Guiyu with google


RE: Digital Cemeteries
By Jim28 on 8/7/2008 1:39:35 PM , Rating: 3
I am guessing Europe is immune from this Eri?

I don't thinks so. Get over hating America as most of America's problems are the same as Europe's in areas regarding waste, power, energy, and oil.

Pointing the Finger at just America shows how stupid and ignorant you are. (Yes the stupid and ingorant have different meanings.)


RE: Digital Cemeteries
By Eri Hyva on 8/8/2008 10:41:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am guessing Europe is immune from this Eri?


Well, last time I checked EU didn't have a Guantanamo lying somewhere, or di**heads saying, that we should import our e-waste to 10-years-olds to burn on open fires to get rid of the plastic and to get access copper and lead.

You used to do things similarly there than here, now you are getting closer to Mexican and Nicaraguan standards.


RE: Digital Cemeteries
By rcc on 8/7/2008 2:33:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Would you trade places with the people living there?


This is the classic false dilemna. Better to ask the question would they rather be doing whatever they would have been doing had the waste not been there. If you think the answer is yes, you need to figure out why they aren't.

The US can't be the worlds conscience, it makes them pissy.

Try comparing these people with working conditions in the US 100 years ago. Sure, we know more now, but if we had to rebuild our technology/industrial base today we'd have some of the same problems. Granted, we hope that we would use our knowledge to do it more safely, but sometimes you just can't afford to.


RE: Digital Cemeteries
By Suza on 8/8/2008 10:50:19 AM , Rating: 2
I don't feel it's about being anyone else's conscience, it's more about damage control.

Just making sure that our e-waste doesn't harm the environment (anywhere) more than necessary is a good thing in my opinion.


I agree
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2008 1:01:51 PM , Rating: 3
That tech waste is definitely a growing problem. As a tech geek I rarely throw out working electronics anyway.

I think the solution is multi-fold.

I think its good that manufacturers get involved with this. Because if nothing else, they could possibly reuse materials from an older component in a new one. Metals from an old computer case can be sold as slag to be melted down and reformed into new cases. Plastics can be recycled. Glass from lenses can be recycled. Copper, gold, silver, platinum, and other metals can all be reused. But since they'd be getting all that material back, they should give you a small coupon or something toward a new product of that brand.

All is for naught though if it isn't made easy and convenient for people. People need to be able to take their old TV or computer into a Best Buy or other store to be sent out for recycling. I'd even be ok with a modest charge for it.

As far as the government getting involved, they rarely do anything well when they get involved in private industry. But they could do little things to encourage this behavior. Make any charges for dropping your old electronics off at a store tax deductible. Give a slight tax break to companies and businesses who support these efforts.

Now Congress, how bout you get your butts back to work and give us a vote on drilling.




RE: I agree
By StevoLincolnite on 8/6/2008 1:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
Well most family's I know that are planning on jumping on the HDTV bandwagon will keep there old CRT Televisions, and put them in there children's bed rooms to play there Xbox/Wii/Playstation on and watch DVD's.

My Next door neighbor pulls apart old electronics to get the Metals located within them, Like Copper and Aluminum, he probably makes a couple of hundred bucks a week from doing that in his spare time alone when he takes it down to the scrap yard.

I don't see older CRT's being instantly thrown away when they switch the signals to High-Definition, Most people really don't care about HDTV and will probably place the old TV in the children's bedroom or buy a set top box.


RE: I agree
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2008 1:49:46 PM , Rating: 1
> "when they switch the signals to High-Definition, ..."

The signals are being switched to digital, not HD. If you're receiving OTA (over-the-air) broadcasts, you'll need a set-top converter to watch TV after the conversion.


RE: I agree
By Spuke on 8/6/2008 3:28:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you'll need a set-top converter to watch TV after the conversion
Which is being partially subsidized by our government.


RE: I agree
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2008 4:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately.


RE: I agree
By Symmetriad on 8/8/2008 4:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hear hear. Electronics companies could certainly reuse a lot of these materials. While massive government regulation would probably just end up sending more of these materials to overseas companies and increasing the risks to workers there, the tax breaks/deductions you mentioned would almost certainly help in getting more waste safely and effectively recycled.

And as individuals we can make some fairly minor lifestyle changes to reduce electronics waste: Keep your gadgets longer if they already do what you need them to do, sell unwanted ones to friends or on the internet, and find somewhere that accepts electronic waste for recycling.

I have a hard time throwing out working hardware myself, too. :)


I Don't Understand
By DaveLessnau on 8/6/2008 1:20:31 PM , Rating: 1
I just can't understand the problem:

- Someone in country A is willing to pay money to export something.
- Someone in country B is willing to accept money to import that something.
- In this case, the "something" is electronic "trash." But, it contains valuable recyclable materials that aren't economically recoverable in country A, but are in country B.

What's the problem? Two parties, no coercion, everyone's happy. Is the "problem" solely that some nanny-state-types are upset because country B might not handle the waste properly? Isn't this country Bs problem and not country As? Is there a country B complaining somewhere and unable to regulate its own imports?




RE: I Don't Understand
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2008 1:41:09 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that, since the US and Europe have already solved all the pressing problems of pollution and environmental damage, groups like Greenpeace increasingly have to manufacture their own artificial problems to justify their own existence.

While many in Ghana, China, or India are working 18-hour days in the fields or worse, starving, the workers who recycle the West's e-waste are doing so by choice, because it means a much better lifestyle than they'd otherwise have. The health risks, while real, are being vastly overstated...handling used cell phones and TVs is certainly less hazardous than a life working in a coal mine.

Reprocessing e-waste in the US with US labor costs and under current EPA regulations would be more than 100 times more costly than shipping it overseas. Ultimately that cost will appear in the purchase price of these goods, meaning consumers can afford less of them. And that, of course, is the real goal of environmentalists -- the reduction and eventual elimination of our industrial lifestyle.


RE: I Don't Understand
By jskirwin on 8/6/2008 3:14:20 PM , Rating: 2
It's just another example of the Green's patronizing attitude towards the developing world. "We know what's best for you, so do what we tell you to do."

Like banning DDT spraying, for example. Malaria was almost eradicated when the Silent Spring wavers got DDT banned. Since then malaria has killed hundreds of millions of children in the developing world.

Genocide for the sake of the environment. Guess the ends justifies the means to some people...


RE: I Don't Understand
By Spuke on 8/6/2008 3:31:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Genocide for the sake of the environment. Guess the ends justifies the means to some people...
Some of the more radical one's simply want the vast majority of us to die so they can take charge and "guide" us in how we live. It's just another power hungry group bent on mass rule. They're no different than the Nazi's.


RE: I Don't Understand
By Symmetriad on 8/8/2008 4:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Do you seriously think the environmentalist movement is made up of sinister men in suits slavering over the thought of genocide and annihilation? I mean, there are some shady and manipulative people in it, and there have been some massively stupid decisions made in the name of environmentalism, but I don't believe the "WORLDWIDE GREENAZI CONSPIRACY" idea any more than I believe in the "WORLDWIDE OIL BARON CONSPIRACY" or ZOG. How can some of you make perfectly intelligent arguments and then make a radical shift to such rabid and preposterous statements?

I'll agree on one thing, though: Greenpeace, as usual, has no grasp on reality. Those toxic materials are in there because the products won't do what they're supposed to without it. They can't expect a company to reinvent the wheel just because they say so.


Junkyards Wars
By abscoder on 8/6/2008 12:51:05 PM , Rating: 1
China gives us kid toys with lead paint so we retaliate with leaded TVs. Let the junkyards wars begin! Wait... that name's already taken...




RE: Junkyards Wars
By vapore0n on 8/6/2008 1:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
they probably made the paint from recycled electronics chemicals.

Who knows.

Something missing from all this law passing jumping the bullet thing. If they do ban export of e-trash, what are WE going to do with all of it?

The e-trash ban should include plan for further recycle these materials in an environmentally safe way.


RE: Junkyards Wars
By othercents on 8/6/2008 3:08:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think the biggest thing is that recyclers that currently just dump the trash will have to find profitable ways to reuse it instead. There are many recyclers that have grinders that will separate out the vital components to be resold to companies that can reuse the recycled material.

I agree though. Each state should have an official recycler that will take care of the materials. It took me forever to find a recycler for my company and I'm not even sure how they deal with the material afterwards.

Other


RE: Junkyards Wars
By Oregonian2 on 8/6/2008 1:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
It's more than that. We're retaliating by sending back the leaded TV's that probably they sent us to begin with!

It's not like any of these electronic toys making up the trash were made domestically.


wtf
By insurgent on 8/7/2008 12:43:30 AM , Rating: 4
I can't believe a lot of you justify throwing your toxic trash to another country, so much selfishness here. The poor people are the ones affected because they don't have any choice, their reasons are not different from those involved in child labor/prostitution... ultimately the officials of the poor nations and the indifferent jerks in the west are the only ones who are happy.

It's the importing government's problem indeed, when they are not the ones who are really affected by these things and they are most likely earning from them. You're not much different from those a**holes.




A solution.
By Fierce Guppy on 8/8/2008 1:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
Since the health of workers is of concern, then why not export safety gear along with the tech garbage?




RE: A solution.
By Eri Hyva on 8/8/2008 10:46:15 AM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't be as cheap


Nothing new
By Eri Hyva on 8/9/2008 3:22:46 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't something you now invented.
Anyone heard of Basel Convention?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basel_Convention

(Did you ratify any international treatments under George W?)

What this means is that if one import e-waste to e.g. China/India, one is breaking Chinese/Indian laws. But like they say, who cares if it is cheaper.




RE: Nothing new
By Eri Hyva on 8/9/2008 4:16:51 AM , Rating: 2
treatments should be treaties, of course


Companies need to foot the bill
By funduck on 8/6/2008 1:16:43 PM , Rating: 1
The companies that are producing these products need to incorporate recycling costs into the purchase price and provide an easy way for consumers to return the product. That's the only way the issue will be solved, consumers aren't going to pay for recycling unless they are forced too.




By Solandri on 8/6/2008 2:16:41 PM , Rating: 2
You're mixing up two issues.

First, there is no recycling cost to incorporate into the purchase price. There is a recycling profit. Recycling other raw materials like paper and plastic have notoriously low economic returns, resulting in recyclers having to charge for the service. But used electronics are actually quite valuable to recycle (especially if some of the components are still working). When my old workplace got rid of a roomful of old computers and monitors, we were paid for it.

The problem is the recycling profit is not large enough for most households in the U.S. to consider it worth the effort vs. just throwing it in the trash. In the above example of my old workplace, we were paid something like $1 per 5 pounds. That's probably not worth it for an individual, but we hand several tons of this stuff so it worked out to couple thousand dollars. In other countries where the prevailing wage is much lower, this meager profit is actually pretty substantial, which is why they want our "trash".

Second, environmental laws are more lax in other countries, making it less expensive to dispose of certain materials there. This is what you and the Congressman in the article are trying to address. But as I explained above, there are positive economic benefits for the receiving nation and environment as well. We might just bury this stuff in a landfill because it is, relatively speaking, not worth our time to sort and recycle it. They might go through the trouble of recycling some (most) of the material out of it because it's well worth their time.

That's why this issue is contentious. There are two contradictory but inseparable factors at work here.


Green?
By mdogs444 on 8/6/2008 1:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
U.S. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, introduced a resolution that calls for the United States to ban the export of toxic e-waste to developing nations.


Rep. Green, Greenpeace, go green....go figure.




Take It Back
By mindless1 on 8/6/2008 2:06:44 PM , Rating: 2
Only allow imports that have the correct country of origin marked in a universal format and export trash back to the country it came from.




By William Gaatjes on 8/6/2008 2:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Greenpeace is trying to convince the world's two largest electronics manufacturers -- Philips and Sharp -- to phase out toxic materials in their electronics and to fully adopt recycling programs.


We will aways need toxic materials cause of the specific characteristics each element has.

quote:
Ms. Kyle insists that only if companies themselves adopt national take back programs will the practice be suitable for regulation and the misbehavior able to be stopped. Of all the manufacturers of TVs, until recently, only Sony was progressive enough to adopt such policies, she said. Sony offers a free take back program at its affiliated retailers. In a Congressional report Sony stated that it was perhaps the only tech company to ban "the exportation of hazardous waste to developing countries."


Very good indeed.
That we use toxic chemicals is not a problem as long as we don't just trash them. This way as much as possible can be re-used.

But on a more realistic note, what actually happens with this e waste gathered by the manufacturer ?

I ask because of this :
I remember a painfull scandal about some garbage processing facility in my country where we sort our garbage in to categories : vegetables,plants and meat; Paper and rest materials as for example plastics. At some point it turned out all this sorted wasted is dumped together on 1 pile and burned together in a waste disposal facility...




Thanks
By porkpie on 8/6/2008 4:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you Jason for this educational look at how low the environmental movement has sunk.




unDemocrats == Socialist idiots
By phxfreddy on 8/6/2008 4:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
This is the dumbest idea. Our image?

For god sake they can not stop meddling.

They diddle up everything they touch.




Edit needed.
By Denithor on 8/7/2008 8:57:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
According to advocates, when this waste is shipped overseas and broken down by impoverished locals, mercury, lead, and brominated flame retardants are frequently reduced.


I'm pretty sure you meant released.




By phxfreddy on 8/9/2008 6:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
They know neither about business, engineering or the people dynamic that is manifest as power.

Lead fears are far over blown same as man made global warming fears.

You guys are like the communist party political stowaways on the Red October or Nazi Uboats... you think you are doing some great overarching good.

In reality you are putz's that are so painfully square because of your adherence to dogma.




"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki