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
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
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.