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Many electronics recycled at free events are destined for recycling in developing nations

The recycling of damaged and obsolete electronic devices has been a hot topic here in America. Many states and environmental watchdog agencies want to keep potentially hazardous materials out of the landfills in America. The issue is that it is possible that hazardous materials used in electronics could seep into the ground water.

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.



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This is not entirely correct
By PandaBear on 7/8/2008 2:43:26 AM , Rating: 2
I recommend the author of this article to do some more research before posting the myth.

My father in law manages a recycling company in the San Francisco Bay Area and while it is collecting CRT for free, the government is actually paying for it by the pound if it follows all the regulation of recycling. The machines are grind locally and separated into glass, metal, plastic. Then it is sold to 3rd world country as raw material for manufacturing.

Metal is smelted and separated by electrolysis, glass shipped to N Korea due to its need for glass and unable to afford anything remotely high quality, and plastic to China as raw material for all sorts of things.

Not that I say the author is lying, but please don't claim that all free recycling is free (because the government is paying for it) and polluting the 3rd world countries (because the labor is not always outsourced).




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