According to an article in PCworld Magazine by Christina DesMarais, (http://www.pcworld.com/article/2048908/trashing-bans-not-reducing-office-e-waste.html), last week Jean-Daniel Saphores, an applied economist at the University of California-Irvine, presented research regarding U.S. recycling rates at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis. He surveyed 3,156 U.S. households and asked them how they had disposed of junk cell phones and how they intended to get rid of unwanted TVs.
At the time of his 2010 survey only California had legislation on the books regarding the disposal of cell phones and 13 states had laws that covered throwing away TVs. The study revealed that there is absolutely no difference in the statistics regarding proper disposal of ewaste in states that have legislation versus those that don’t. Saphores’ summary is that legislation is virtually useless.
The author continues to write facts that we’ve been saying for years: “Electronic waste from the U.S. often ends up in developing countries where workers at scrap yards, some of whom are children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and poisons while looking for valuable metals. Along with elements such as gold and copper, anything with a circuit board contains toxic substances, including lead, nickel, cadmium, mercury, brominated ﬂame retardants (BFRs) or the chlorinated plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), all of which harm the environment.
Of the 1,352 e-scrap processing plants in the United States only 114 are certified by a non-profit called e-Stewards not to export overseas, dump or burn their waste. E-Stewards says only 11-14 percent of e-waste is sent to recyclers—the rest ends up in landfills or is burned resulting in soil, water and air pollution. Of the e-waste sent to e-cyclers, 70-80 percent of it is exported to countries with lax environmental and labor regulations.”
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