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Desktopelec fs

Desktopelec fs

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Published by Omoloye Sulayman

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Published by: Omoloye Sulayman on Apr 12, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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n the past decade, technological advances in electronic data management andcommunications have spurred economic growth and improved people’s lives incountless ways. However, our growing dependence on electronic products both at homeand in the workplace has given rise to a new environmental challenge: electronics waste.A recent study by EPA shows that electronics already make up approximately 1 percentof the municipal solid waste stream. Research completed in Europe shows that electronicswaste is growing at three times the rate of other municipal waste. To the extent possible,electronics waste should be prevented, and older electronics should be reused and recycled.
Why Prevent Electronics Waste?
End-of-life electronics:
Are a fast-growing waste stream.
Over 20 million personal computers becameobsolete in 1998. Only 13 percent were reusedor recycled. Many municipalities are facing thedilemma of what to do with growing amounts of retired electronics. Rapid changes in computer technology and the emergence of newelectronic gadgets exacerbate the problem.
Can contain hazardous materials.
There arehazardous materials, such as lead, mercury, andhexavalent chromium, in circuit boards, batteries,and color cathode ray tubes (CRTs). Televisionsand CRT monitors contain four pounds of lead,on average (the exact amount depends on sizeand make). Mercury from electronics has beencited as a leading source of mercury in municipalwaste. In addition, brominated flame retardantsare commonly added to plastics used in electronics. If improperly handled, these toxics can be released into the environment through incinerator ash or landfill leachate.
Are made with valuable materials.
In 1998, over 112 million pounds of materials wererecovered from electronics, including steel, glass, and plastic, as well as precious metals.Reusing and recycling the raw materials from end-of-life electronics conserves naturalresources and avoids the air and water pollution, as well as greenhouse gas emissions,that are caused by manufacturing new products.
How To Reduce Electronics Waste
This fact sheet provides information on ways you can reduce the environmental impactof electronics use and disposal through reuse, donation, recycling, and buying greener electronic products.
United States Solid Waste and EPA 530-F-01-006Environmental Protection Emergency Response June 2001Agency (5306W) http://www.epa.gov/epr
Electronics:A New Opportunity forWaste Prevention,Reuse,and Recycling
What products areconsidered consumerelectronics?
Televisions and MonitorsComputersComputer PeripheralsAudio/Stereo EquipmentVCRsDVD PlayersVideo CamerasTelephonesFax and Copying MachinesCellular PhonesWireless DevicesVideo Game Consoles
Reusing andDonating Electronics
Preventing waste in the first place is usually preferable to anywaste management option...including recycling. Donatingelectronics for reuse extends the lives of valuable productsand keeps them out of the waste management system for alonger time. Reuse, in addition to being an environmentally preferable alternative, also benefits society. By donating your used electronics, you allow schools, non-profit organizations,and lower-income families to use equipment that theyotherwise could not afford.As a household or a business, you may be able to takeadvantage of tax incentives for computer equipment donations.The 21st Century Classrooms Act for Private TechnologyInvestment encourages large companies to donate computer equipment to public and private schools. When donatingequipment to a non-profit organization, inquire aboutdocumentation that can be applied toward your incometax return.Before donating your computer or other electronics, makesure the equipment is reusable. Donation organizations havelimited resources and employees to diagnose and repair hardware. A functional, working system, especially withmonitor, wiring, and software licenses, is a lot moreuseful and requires less upgrading than a non-working,incomplete computer. Check to see what the donationorganization’s minimum computer requirements are.Donation organizations may not accept (or maycharge a fee for) older, less useful equipment.The most appropriate donation organization to handle acomputer can vary from area to area. In some cases, themost viable donation organization may be a charity, but inother areas, the appropriate donation organization may bethe local school district or materials exchange.
Recycling Electronics
If donation for reuse or repair is not a viable option,households and businesses can send their used electronicsfor recycling. Recycling electronics avoids pollution and theneed to extract valuable and limited virgin resources. It alsoreduces the energy used in new product manufacturing.A growing number of municipalities are offering computer and electronics collections as part of household hazardouswaste collections or special events. In addition, public and private organizations have emerged that accept computersand other electronics for recycling. Depending on where youlive and the amount of equipment you have, the bestrecycling option may be a county recycling drop-off center,TV repair shop, charitable organization, electronics recyclingcompany, or even your local electronics retailer, which maycollect used products and send them to a recycler.Some electronics manufacturers are accepting householdelectronics for recycling. In some cases, these services are provided free-of-charge. Asset management and recovery programs have been available to major corporations andlarge purchasers of electronic equipment for quite sometime. Now, electronics manufacturers are beginning tooffer similar services for households and small businesses.
Where can I donate my computer?
The following are just a few examples of organizationsthat can provide additional information on donatingelectronics.
Goodwill Industries
Many Goodwills accept computer donations. Donationsto Goodwill help individuals with disabilities and otherdisadvantages upgrade their job skills and enter theworkforce.
Students Recycling Used Technology (StRUT)
The StRUT program teaches students to evaluateand repair donated computer equipment, which isthen contributed to local schools. Founded in Oregon,StRUT has since expanded to other states (AZ, CA,MA, NM, OR, TX, and WA). Call (503) 251-3771 toask about a site near you.
Learning and Information Networking forCommunity via Technology (LINCT)
Using computers donated by businesses, LINCTprovides computer training, teaches individuals torefurbish computers, and allows them to earncomputers through community service.
Materials Exchanges
Many materials exchanges accept electronics.The Southern Waste Information Exchange (SWIX)has developed a materials exchange specifically forelectronics at
Reuse Development Organization (ReDO)
ReDO is a non-profit organization that promotesreuse of discarded and surplus materials, includingelectronics. ReDo provides education, training, andtechnical assistance to help start up and operatereuse programs.
Buying Green
Environmentally responsible electronics use involves notonly proper end-of-life disposition of obsolete equipment, butalso purchasing new equipment that has been designed withenvironmental attributes. Think about this when purchasingnew equipment, and ask your retailer or electronics supplier about environmentally preferable electronics. Households,companies, and governmental organizations can encourageelectronics manufacturers to design greener electronics by purchasing computers and other electronics withenvironmentally preferable attributes and by requestingtakeback options at the time of purchase.Look for electronics that:• Are made with fewer toxic constituents• Use recycled content• Are energy efficient (e.g., showing the“Energy Star” label)• Are designed for easy upgrading or disassembly• Utilize minimal packaging• Offer leasing or takeback options• Have been recognized by independent certificationgroups (such as the Swedish TCO or Blue Angel)as environmentally preferable.The National Recycling Coalition has assembled informationon environmentally preferable procurement of electronics ontheir web site, at:
The Northwest Product Stewardship Council has developed aGuide to Environmentally Preferable Computer Purchasing,available at:
What EPA Is Doing To Encourage Reuse,Recycling, and Greener Purchasing ofElectronics
EPA’s goal is to promote greater product stewardship of electronics. Product stewardship means that all who make,distribute, use, and dispose of products share responsibilityfor reducing the environmental impact of those products.We intend to work towards this goal in three ways:1) increase reuse and recycling of used electronics, 2) ensurethat management of electronics is safe and environmentallysound, and 3) foster a life-cycle approach to product steward-ship, including environmentally conscious design, manufactur-ing, and toxics reduction for new electronic products.EPA iscurrently working with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to meet these goals. In support of these efforts,EPA will be looking to streamline regulations and policies. Weaim to make it easier and more cost-effective for consumers,retailers, recyclers, manufacturers, and governments at alllevels to help divert these products into environmentally soundreuse and recycling, as well as reduce the environmentalfootprint of electronic product use.In addition, EPA’s Design for the Environment Program
is working with electronics manufacturersto incorporate environmental considerations into productdesign. EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program
is helping federal agencies in the purchasing of environmentally preferable products andservices, including electronics. Also, the Energy Star Program
 promotes energy-efficient productsthrough its labeling and education program. EPA’s WasteWiseProgram is challenging its almost 1,100 partners to set goalsfor reducing electronics waste
Finally, EPA’s Office of Solid Waste is supporting multi-stakeholder dialogues, collection pilots, public education, andinternational cooperation to foster greater awareness and coor-dination of electronics reuse and recycling issues. For moreinformation about EPA’s efforts to encourage product steward-ship for electronics, visit
Where can I take my computer?
To find an electronics recycling organization near you,visit the following web sites:
EIA Consumer Education Initiative (CEI)
The Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) hasdeveloped the Consumer Education Initiative website to help households and small businesses findenvironmentally responsible options for donating andrecycling electronics in their community.
International Association of ElectronicsRecyclers (IAER)
IAER has an online directory of electronics recyclers.This database is ideal for large organizations that arelooking for a company to handle used electronics.The IAER web site also has information onelectronics recycling news and industry events.

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