To help prevent electronics from ending up in landfills, there have been many recycling events held around the U.S. that are sponsored by electronics makers and are sometimes sponsored by companies who plan to recycle the products for their plastics, glass, and precious metals.
USA Today reports that activists are warning that items collected at free electronic recycling events are often ending up in salvage yards in developing nations. Barbara Kyle, national coordinator for the Electronics TakeBack Coalition says, “If nobody is paying (the collectors) to take this stuff, especially if they're getting a lot of televisions, then they are very likely exporting because that's how they make the economics work.”
The fear activists have is that the electronics that end up in developing nations will be recycled by laborers who will be exposed to toxic substances and where the toxic substances could leech into the ground water. The laborers who harvest the electronics are only paid dollars per day according to activists.
Don’t feel bad for receiving free recycling services though. The companies recycling the obsolete electronics are not doing it out of the kindness of their hearts or to make the world a better place -- it’s done for profits.
Most of the companies offering free recycling are mining the products for precious metals like gold and silver. Some electronics recycling firms mine more gold form e-waste like cell phones than is produced from a gold mine.
quote: in any case, your statement is incorrect. Nearly all solder used in commercial electronics today contain nothing but trace amounts of lead -- the old 63/37 solder is typically only used by hobbyists these days.
quote: Can you not read? Dumping leaded solder has cost the industry billions...and cost us consumers far more, in the way of less reliable electronic components and higher prices.
quote: Note also that there really is no monetary cost to speak of in going RoHS other than paperwork compliance issues.
quote: So in the broad view, there really isn't much of any cost in getting rid of those toxic materials so the cost/benefit is good.
quote: CO2 is so safe, in fact, we intentionally inject thousands of tons of it into our food and drink (what do you think puts the fizz in your soda?)
quote: If we dig up some lead, slap it on a circuit board, and that board winds up in a landfill, the earth is right back where it started. Net change: zero.
quote: A problem caused by pudding-headed environmentalists, who refuse to let us deal with those electronics here at home. So they're instead shipped overseas, to be recycled under dangerous conditions.
quote: The Scandinavian countries are investing real money to alternative power sources to prevnt greenhouse gas emissions, and EU funding is rather generous. I am sure that they don't want to just throw money away.
quote: In any case most of the new stuff will be RoHS compliant where lead (and five other toxic materials) are nearly non-existent. Something EU driven (and bravo for their efforts, they do somethings that actually make sense).