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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1 : INTRODUCTION. Chapter 2 : E-WASTE 2.1 : Definition of e-waste 2.2 : Computer Junk Is Growing 2.3 : Problems Caused by e-waste Chapter 3 : CONTENTS OF E-WASTE 3.1 : E-Toxics in Computers & E-waste 3.2 : Risks related to some e-toxics found in computers 3.3 : Chemicals make Computer Recycling particularly Hazardous to Computer 3.4 : Disposing of Computers is Hazardous 3.4.1 : The Hazards of Incinerating Computer Junk 3.4.2 : The Hazards of Landfilling Computer Junk 3.4.3 : The Hazards of Recycling Computer Junk Chapter 4 : HISTORY OF WASTE MANAGEMENT 4.1 : History of Waste Management 4.2 : Waste Management & Disease In History 4.3 : Historical waste acts in the UK 4.4 : Table of the events in the History Chapter 5 : WASTE MANAGEMENT CONCEPTS & TECHNIQUIES 5.1 : Waste Management Concepts 5.1.1 : Resource Recovery 5.1.2 : Recycling 5.2 : Waste Management Techniques 5.2.1 : Landfill 5.2.2 : Incineration 5.2.3 : Composting & anaerobic digestion 5.2.4 : Mechanical biological treatment 5.2.5 : Pyrolysis & Gasification Chapter 6 : A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Chapter 7 : WHAT IS A CLEAN COMPUTER? Chapter 8 : CONCLUSION REFERENCES
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
Most consumers are unaware of the toxic materials in the products they rely on for word processing, data management, and access to the internet, as well as for electronic games. In general, computer equipment is a complicated assembly of more than 1,000 materials, many of which are highly toxic, such as chlorinated and brominated substances, toxic gases, toxic metals, biologically active materials, acids, plastics and plastic additives. The health impacts of the mixtures and material combinations in the products often are not known. The production of semiconductors, printed circuit boards, disk drives and monitors uses particularly hazardous chemicals, and workers involved in chip manufacturing are now beginning to come forward and reporting cancer clusters. In addition, new evidence is emerging that computer recyclers have high levels of dangerous chemicals in their blood. The fundamental dynamism of computer manufacturing that has transformed life in the second half of the 20th century -- especially the speed of innovation -- also leads to rapid product obsolescence.. The average computer platform has a lifespan of less than two years, and hardware and software companies – especially Intel and Microsoft -- constantly generate new programs that fuel the demand for more speed, memory and power. Today, it is frequently cheaper and more convenient to buy a new machine to accommodate the newer generations of technology than it is to upgrade the old. This trend has rapidly escalated due to widespread Y2K concerns. Yet we have no solution in North America for the rising quantities of computer junk that people are discarding. Three quarters of all computers ever bought in the US are sitting in people’s attics and basements because they don’t know what to do with them.
is currently lobbying against this European Union initiative! We need your help to ask producers here in North America to take back their products and ddesign them for safer use. • The European Union is developing a solution that will make producers responsible for taking back their old products. By the year 2004. many of which will be destined for landfills. reuse and recycling. the US Trade Representative – at the request of the American electronics trade associations -.also encourages cleaner product design and less waste generation. 5 . To date no such initiative has occurred in North America and in fact. incinerators or hazardous waste exports. confirmed that computer recycling in the US is shockingly inadequate: • In 1998 only 6 percent of computers were recycled compared to the numbers of new computers put on the market that year. This legislation – which includes "take-back" requirements and toxic materials phase-outs -.A May 1999 report -– "Electronic Product Recovery and Recycling Baseline Report" --published by the well-respected National Safety Council’s Environmental Health Center. experts estimate that we will have over 315 million obsolete computers in the US.
Legislation followed in 1998 and since January 2005 it has been possible to return all electronic waste to the sales points and other collection points free of charge. The European Union is implementing a similar system described in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE 2002/96/EC). mobile phones and other items that have been discarded by their original users. By the end of 2006 – and with one or two years' delay for the new EU members – every country has to recycle at least 4 kg of e-waste per capita. There are two established PROs (Producer Responsibility Organizations): SWICO mainly handling electronic waste and SENS mainly responsible for electrical appliances. or unrepairable. in most cases electronic waste consists of electronic products that were used for data processing. Despite its common classification as a waste. and material recycling of its constituent raw materials. The total amount of recycled electronic waste exceeds 10 kg per capita per year. all other electric and electronic devices were gradually added to the system. entertainment electronics. While there is no generally accepted definition of electronic waste.1 Definition of electronic waste : Electronic waste includes computers. disposed electronics are a considerable category of secondary resource due to their significant suitability for direct reuse. broken. Over the years. 6 . The WEEE Directive has been transposed in national laws and become effective. In 1991 the first electronic waste recycling system was implemented in Switzerland beginning with the collection of refrigerators. refurbishing. or entertainment in private households and businesses that are now considered obsolete. The manufacturers became financially responsible for the compliance to the WEEE directive since 13 August 2005. Reconceptualization of electronic waste as a resource thus preempts its potentially hazardous qualities.CHAPTER 2 E-WASTE 2. telecommunications.
By the year 2005. faxes etc. another 24 million computers in the United States will become "obsolete".) Sports & leisure equipment (electronic toys. office closets and pantries.Definition of electronic waste according to the WEEE directive : • • • • • • • • • • Large household appliances (ovens.) Office & communication (PCs. Reliable numbers were not available for the number of computers manufactured between 1980 and 1992. If everyone disposed of these the US would face a huge waste problem all at once. HiFis. vacuum cleaners etc. one computer will become obsolete for every new one put on the market. It has been estimated that over three-quarters of all computers ever bought in the USA are currently stored in people’s attics. training machines etc. Only about 14 % (or 3.) 2. portable CD players etc.) Small household appliances (toasters. The lifespan of computers is decreasing. A recent US study found that over 315 million computers will become obsolete by the year 2004 – and this is an underestimate. basements.) Entertainment electronics (TVs. In 1997 the average lifespan of a computer tower was 4-6 years and computer monitors 6-7 years.S. 7 . By the end of this year (1999).more than 20 million computers in the U. Computer junking is also happening at a faster rate. -. refrigerators etc. printers.2 COMPUTER JUNK IS GROWING : Computer junk is growing at an escalating rate in the USA and Canada and consumers do not know what to do with it. electric lawnmowers etc.) Medical appliances and instruments Surveillance equipment Automatic issuing systems (ticket issuing machines etc.3 million) of these will be recycled or donated.) Lighting equipment (mainly fluorescent tubes) E-tools (drilling machines.will be dumped. This will soon fall to 2 years before 2005. phones. The rest .
Over 300 million computer monitors have been sold in the USA since 1980.were shipped abroad to countries such as China. dryers. for major appliances such as washing machines. dishwashers and freezers. Technical solutions are available but in most cases a legal framework. and elsewhere.3 Problems caused by electronic waste : Electronic waste is a valuable source for secondary raw materials. more than three-quarters come from large-scale users of the equipment. shipped as waste exports or put into temporary storage in attics. however if not treated properly it is major source of toxins. if treated properly. Uncontrolled burning and disposal are 8 . etc.S.7 million monitors in the US were "recycled. Rapid technology change.incinerated. logistics and other services need to be implemented before a technical solution can be applied. India. it is estimated that some 50 million U. Kenya. electronic waste is being sent to these countries for processing – in most cases illegally.about 1 million monitors . Due to lower environmental standards and working conditions in China. In 1998 only 6 percent of older computers were recycled compared to the numbers of new computers put on the market that year. refrigerators. a collection system. Of the small amount recycled. shipped abroad or stored to await eventual disposal. Individual users and small businesses contribute only a small fraction of the equipment that is recycled because no collection or recycling program is in place. basements. air conditioners." the majority of which . In contrast. burned. low initial cost and even planned obsolescence have resulted in a fast growing problem around the globe. in 1997 only about 1. Recycling of computer monitors is no better. Yet. computer towers will have been dumped. For the three years between 1997 and 1999. Delhi and Bangalore in India and Guiyu in Shantou region of China have electronic waste processing areas. 2. the proportion recycled in 1998 was about 70 percent of the number put on the market that year.
less packaging per unit. conventional recycling) where equipment is reverted to a raw material form. Many of the plastics used in electronic equipment contain flame retardants. The unsustainability of discarded electronics and computer technology is another reason for the need to recycle – or perhaps more practically. Up to thirty-eight separate chemical elements are incorporated into electronic waste items.causing environmental and health problems due to the methods of processing the waste. Part of this evolution has involved greater diversion of electronic waste from energy intensive. public. when materials cannot or will not be reused. cadmium and a number of other substances. whether in developed or developing countries. mercury. down-cycling processes (eg. This diversion is achieved through reuse and refurbishing. Electronic waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity of some of the substances if processed improperly. making the plastics difficult to recycle. reuse – electronic waste. Trade in electronic waste is controlled by the Basel Convention. Challenges remain. Electronic waste processing systems have matured in recent years following increased regulatory. Standards for both approaches vary widely by jurisdiction. 9 . The complexity of the various items to be disposed of. The environmental and social benefits of reuse are several: diminished demand for new products and their commensurate requirement for virgin raw materials and larger quantities of pure water and electricity for associated manufacturing. conventional recycling or disposal via landfill often follow.though this is changing. availability of technology to wider swaths of society due to greater affordability of products. These are generally halogens added to the plastic resin. and the need for concerned and concerted action to collect and systematically process equipment are the resources most lacked -. and a commensurate increase in entrepreneurial interest. The toxicity is due in part to lead. and commercial scrutiny. and diminished use of landfills. A typical computer monitor may contain more than 6% lead by weight. cost of environmentally sound recycling systems.
1 0% in vacuum tube/CRT Nickel 0. E-TOXICS IN COMPUTERS AND E-WASTE "Printed Circuit Boards contain heavy metals such as Antimony. Zinc. extraction.0013 < 0. PWB. connectors Germanium 0.6 70% metal joining/PWB.51 80% structural. Lead.4712 12. PWB. connectors Barium 0. 1996. Name Content Weight of Recycling Use/Location (% of material in Efficiency total computer (current weight) (lbs. Electronics Industry Environmental Roadmap.0078 0.8 5% metal joining. refining and production.1 0% Semiconductor/PWB Gallium 0.1 0% Semiconductor/PWB Iron 20.2988 3. PWB Tin 1. oxides other than silica Lead 6. use and disposal is as extensive as for printed circuit boards.5 80% structural. conductivity/housing." "In short.2 90% Conductivity/CRT. TX: MCC.8503 0. CRT. PWB 10 .9907 13.8 20% includes organics. According to some estimates there is hardly any other product for which the sum of the environmental impacts of raw material. CRT. Chromium. industrial. CRT. Austin.3 80% structural. PWB Aluminum 14." Materials used in a desktop computer and the efficiency of current recycle processes : Table presented in: Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC). Silver.1.0016 < 0.CHAPTER 3 CONTENTS OF E-WASTE 3. CRT Copper 6. magnetivity/(steel) housing.1723 8. the product developers of electronic products are introducing chemicals on a scale which is totally incompatible with the scant knowledge of their environmental or biological characteristics. Tin and Copper.) recyclability) Plastics 22.0315 < 0. magnetivity/(steel) housing.9287 4. radiation shield/CRT.
1 < 0.0002 0 0 0.0013 24.1 < 0.0157 0. conductivity/PWB.0157 0. PWB doping agents in transistors/PWB glass. switches/housing. glu-green phosphor emitter/housing.0157 0.1 < 0.0315 0. power supply transistor.0002 0 0.1 < 0.1 < 0. CRT Capacitors/PWB.0189 0.2046 0. PWB. magnetivity/(steel) housing. alloying agent/(aluminum) housing resistive circuit/PWB structural. PWB Conductivity/PWB.0094 0.PWB 3. hardener/(steel) housing battery. CRT wetting agent in thick film/PWB Decorative. rectifiers/PWB red phosphor emitter/CRT green phosphor activator.1 < 0.1 < 0. PWB thermal conductivity/PWB.1 < 0.0016 0.1 < 0.1 < 0. CRT. CRT.1 60% 0% 60% 0% 0% 0% 99% 0% 0% 80% 85% 95% 0% 98% 0% 0% 0% 0% 70% 0% 0% 50% 95% 0% 0% 0% < 0.0016 0.1 < 0.1 15 battery. connectors structural.0063 0.1 < 0.0094 0. PWB Connectivity.1 0 < 0.2 Risks related to some e-toxics found in computers 11 .0157 0. conductivity/PWB. solid state devices/CRT.Zinc Tantalum Indium Vanadium Terbium Beryllium Gold Europium Titanium Ruthenium Cobalt Palladium Manganese Silver Antinomy Bismuth Chromium Cadmium Selenium Niobium Yttrium Rhodium Platinum Mercury Arsenic Silica 2.1 < 0. dopant/CRT. connectors Connectivity. connectors diodes/housing.0016 0. phosphor emitter/PWB.8803 1.32 < 0. connectors phosphor activator/PWB pigment.1 < 0.0002 0. CRT rectifiers/PWB welding allow/housing red phosphor emitter/CRT thick film conductor/PWB thick film conductor/PWB batteries.00096 < 0. PWB.1 0. magnetivity/(steel) housing.0002 0.0003 0.0022 0.1 < 0.0016 0.0063 0.1 < 0.
Due to the long half-life (30 years). cadmium can easily be accumulated in amounts that cause symptoms of poisoning. Cadmium and cadmium compounds accumulate in the human body. blood system and kidneys in humans. The main applications of lead in computers are: soldering of printed circuit boards and other electronic components lass panels in computer monitors (cathode ray tubes) Between 1997 and 2004.2 billion pounds of lead! Cadmium Cadmium compounds are classified as toxic with a possible risk of irreversible effects on human health. cadmium is used as a plastic stabilizer. Older types of cathode ray tubes contain cadmium. Lead accumulates in the environment and has high acute and chronic toxic effects on plants. cadmium occurs in certain components such as SMD chip resistors. infrared detectors and semiconductors. Cadmium is adsorbed through respiration but is also taken up with food. it is transformed to methylated 12 . The main concern in regard to the presence of lead in landfills is the potential for the lead to leach and contaminate drinking water supplies. Consumer electronics constitute 40% of lead found in landfills. Mercury When inorganic mercury spreads out in the water. Effects on the endocrine system have also been observed and its serious negative effects on children’s brain development have been well documented. Cadmium shows a danger of cumulative effects in the environment due to its acute and chronic toxicity. in particular in kidneys.In electrical and electronic equipment. over 315 million computers will become obsolete is the USA. Furthermore. This adds up to about 1.Lead Lead can cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems. animals and microorganisms. Between 1997 to 2004 over 315 million computers will become obsolete and this represents almost 2 million pounds of cadmium content.
hexavalent chromium compounds are toxic for the environment. and there is widespread agreement among scientists that wastes containing chromium should not be incinerated. it is used in medical equipment. Mercury is also used in batteries. on printed circuit boards and in measuring equipment) and discharge lamps. Although this amount is small for any single component.2 million pounds of hexavalent chromium will be present. data transmission. In addition. and printed wiring boards. Furthermore. (position) sensors. telecommunications. It is well documented that contaminated wastes can leach from landfills. 13 . Methylated mercury causes chronic damage to the brain. about 1. relays and switches (e. Chromium VI can easily pass through membranes of cells and is easily absorbed producing various toxic effects within the cells. It is basically used in thermostats.mercury in the bottom sediments. 315 million obsolete computers by the year 2004 represent more than 400. Asthmatic bronchitis is another allergic reaction linked to chromium VI. switches/housing. Hexavalent Chromium (Chromium VI) Some manufacturers still apply this substance as corrosion protection of untreated and galvanized steel plates and as a decorative and hardener for steel housing. Methylated mercury easily accumulates in living organisms and concentrates through the food chain particularly via fish. and mobile phones. Chromium VI may also cause DNA damage. It causes strong allergic reactions even in small concentrations.g.000 pounds of mercury in total. Of the more than 315 million computers destined to become obsolete between 1997 and 2004. Incineration results in the generation of fly ash from which chromium is leachable. It is estimated that 22 % of the yearly world consumption of mercury is used in electrical and electronic equipment.
An analysis commissioned by the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) estimated that the total electronics plastic scrap amounted to more than 1 billion pounds per year (580. flooring. Of more importance. windows and packaging. This same study estimated that the largest volume of plastics used in electronics manufacturing (at 26%) was polyvinyl chloride (PVC). but there are concerns that once alight. however. which creates more environmental and health hazards than most other type of plastic (see below). pipes. PVC is a difficult plastic to recycle and it contaminates other plastics in the recycling process. Such alternatives are low-density polyethylene and thermoplastic olefins.000 tons per year). Recent concerns about the use of softeners in PVC plastic toys leaching out into children’s mouths have lead to further restrictions on PVC. 14 . While many computer companies have recently reduced or phased out the use of PVC. wallpaper. Hospitals are now beginning to phase out the use of PVC products such as disposal gloves and IV bags because of the dangers of incinerating these products. the production and burning of PVC products generates dioxins and furans. fumes from PVC cabling can be a major contributor to fatalities and hence there are pressures to switch to alternatives for safety reasons. This plastic commonly used in packaging and household products is a major cause of dioxin formation in open burning and garbage incinerators.8 pounds per computer on average. PVC cabling is used for its fire retardant properties. there is still a huge volume of PVC contained in the computer scrap that continues to grow – potentially up to 250 million pounds per year. PVC The use of PVC in computers has been mainly used in cabling and computer housings. Many local authorities in Europe have PVC-free policies for municipal buildings. although most computer moldings are now being made of ABS plastic.Plastics Based on the calculation that more than 315 million computers will become obsolete between 1997 and 2004 and that plastics make up 13. there will be more than 4 billion pounds of plastic present in this computer waste.
A recent study found that newborn mice fed PBDEs show abnormal behavior when placed in new surroundings. They are also used in plastic covers of TV sets and in domestic kitchen appliances. Various scientific observations indicate that Polybrominated Diphenylethers (PBDE) might act as endocrine disrupters. About a ton of PBB fire retardant was added to cattle feed in error and contamination spread through the animal and human food chain. pancreas and liver cancers. including stomach. 15 .Brominated Flame Retardants Brominated flame-retardants are a class of brominated chemicals commonly used in electronic products as a means for reducing flammability. In computers. Researchers in the US found exposure to Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs) may cause an increased risk of cancer of the digestive and lymph systems. A study published in 1998 found that the group with the highest exposure was 23 times more likely to develop digestive cancers. Other studies have shown PBDE. Thyroid is an essential hormone needed to regulate the normal development of all animal species. like many halogenated organics. However. Normal mice become very active when first transferred to a new environment but gradually slow down as they complete their explorations. reduce levels of the hormone thyroxin in exposed animals and have been shown to cross the blood brain barrier in the developing fetus. including humans. in components such as connectors. Research has revealed that levels of PBDEs in human breast milk are doubling every five years and this has prompted concern because of the effect of these chemicals in young animals. Preliminary results also found a 49-fold increase in lymph cancers. Researchers concluded that exposure to the chemicals in early life could induce neurotoxin effects similar to those caused by other toxic substances such as PCBs and some pesticides. The study looked at cancer incidence in individuals exposed to PBBs after a 1973 food contamination incident in Michigan. Some nine million people were affected. treated mice were less active at first but became more active after being in new surroundings for an hour. they are used mainly in four applications: in printed circuit boards. in plastic covers and in cables.
PBBs are easily absorbed by animals. fax machines or other electronic equipment are recycled. In contrast. In addition. Workers at dismantling facilities had 70 times the level of one form of flame retardant than are found in hospital cleaners. PBBs have been detected in fish from several regions. Ingestion of fish is a source of PBB transfer to mammals and birds. 1998 Sweden’s National Chemicals Inspectorate called for a ban on PBB and PBDE while urging their government to work for a European wide ban and for controls on the international trade in these chemicals. PBBs have been found to be 200 times more soluble in a landfill leachate than in distilled water. they can reach the food chain. which may result in a wider distribution in the environment.The presence of PBBs in Arctic seal samples indicates a wide geographical distribution. where they are concentrated. the German chemical industry stopped the production of these chemicals in 1986. As a consequence. PBBs are almost insoluble in water and are primarily found in sediments of polluted lakes and rivers. Neither uptake nor degradation of PBBs by plants has been recorded. clerks working full-time at computer screens also had levels of flameretardants in their blood – slightly higher than for cleaners. It has been shown that Polybrominated Diphenylethers (PBDEs) form the toxic polybrominated dibenzo furans (PBDF) and polybrominated dibenzo dioxins (PBDD) during the extruding process. high concentrations of PBDEs have been found in the blood of workers in recycling plants. which is part of the plastic recycling process. dust containing toxic flame-retardants is spread in the air. Humans may directly absorb PBDEs when they are emitted from electronic circuit boards and plastic computer and TV cabinets.3 These chemicals make computer recycling particularly hazardous to workers The presence of polybrominated flame-retardants in plastic makes recycling dangerous and difficult. 16 . Once they have been released into the environment. In May. The principal known routes of PBBs from point sources into the aquatic environment are PBBs plant areas and waste dumps. A recent Swedish study found that when computers. Because of their common presence in air. 3.
copper is a catalyst for dioxin formation when flame-retardants are incinerated. it poses contamination problems in leachate to water sources and toxic air emissions.1 The Hazards of Incinerating Computer Junk The stream of Waste from Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) contributes significantly to the heavy metals and halogenated substances contained in the municipal waste stream. the environmental risks posed by landfilling and burning are also significant. 3. Calculations for the amount of brominated Flame retardants present in monitors total over 350 million pounds. including heavy metals.As a consequence.4. This is an underestimate because it does not take into account the amount present in the computer tower or printed wiring boards. Significant quantities of PVC are contained in WEEE which makes the flue gas residues and air emissions particularly dangerous. In particular.4 DISPOSING OF COMPUTERS IS HAZARDOUS In addition to the recent evidence of worker exposure to flame retardants. more than 90% of the cadmium put to an incinerator is found in the fly ash and more than 70% of the mercury in the filter cake. In this context. 17 . in the slag. when computer waste is landfilled or incinerated. 3. This is of particular concern as the incineration of brominated flame retardants at a low temperature (600-800°C) may lead to the generation of extremely toxic polybrominated dioxins (PBDDs) and furans (PBDFs). For instance. Because of the variety of different substances found together in electroscrap. the flue gas and in the filter cake. in the fly ash. • • Between 1997 and 2004 over 315 million computers will become obsolete. PBBs should no longer be used commercially. The introduction of WEEE into incinerators results in high concentrations of metals. incineration is particularly dangerous.
PBDDs and PCDFs . PCDDs.polychlorinated and polybrominated dioxins and furans) from halogenated flame retardant products and PCB containing 18 . such as circuit breakers are destroyed.4. Not only the leaching of mercury poses specific problems. The same is true for PCBs from condensors. Noranda has denied that their smelter presents a pollution hazard. is also of concern. metals and other chemical substances. The vaporization of metallic mercury and dimethylene mercury. where much of the North American electroscrap is sent. both PBDE and the cadmium may leach into the soil and groundwater. Smelting can present dangers similar to incineration. In addition. Indeed.Municipal incineration is the largest point source of dioxins into the US and Canadian environments and among the largest point source of heavy metal contamination of the atmosphere. uncontrolled fires may arise at the landfills and this could be a frequent occurrence in many countries. When exposed to fire. there have been concerns expressed that the Noranda Smelter in Quebec. Even the best "state of the art" landfills are not completely tight throughout their lifetimes and a certain amount of chemical and metal leaching will occur. It has been found that significant amounts of lead ions are dissolved from broken lead containing glass. such as the extremely toxic dioxins and furans (TCDD -Tetrachlorodibenzo-dioxin. is producing dioxins due to the residual presence of PVC or other plastics in the scrap. Mercury will leach when certain electronic devices. 3. The situation is far worse for older or less stringent dump sites. both part of WEEE. when mixed with acid waters which commonly occur in landfills. Some producers send their electroscrap to cement kilns for use as an alternative to fuel. such as the cone glass of cathode ray tubes.2 The Hazards of Landfilling Computer Junk It has become common knowledge that all landfills leak. When brominated flame retarded plastic or cadmium containing plastics are landfilled.
Unless the goal is to reddesign the product to use non-hazardous materials. are also of concern during the extrusion of plastics. in particular brominated flame-retardants. Halogenated substances contained in WEEE. recyclers usually abstain from recycling flameretarded plastics from WEEE.condensers can be emitted. computer casings that release highly toxic dioxins & furans when burnt to recover valuable metals • • • mercury switches mercury in flat screens Poly Chlorinated Biphenyl’s (PCB’s) present in older capacitors & transformers Due to the halogenated substances found in plastics. The list of e-toxic components in computers include: • • • • • computer circuit boards containing heavy metals like lead & computer batteries containing cadmium cathode ray tubes with lead oxide & barium brominated flame-retardants used on printed circuit boards. due to the lack of proper identification of 19 . Due to the risk of generating dioxins and furans.4. However. such recycling is a false solution. 3.3 The Hazards of Recycling Computer Junk Recycling of hazardous products has little environmental benefit – it simply moves the hazards into secondary products that eventually have to be disposed of. Poly Vinyl Chloride(PVC) coated copper cables and plastic cadmium cables and plastic casing. both dioxins and furans are generated as a consequence of recycling the metal content of WEEE. which is part of plastic recycling.
Another problem with heavy metals and halogenated substances in untreated WEEE occurs during the shredding process. however. The export of scrap is profitable because the labor costs are cheap and regulations are lax compared to US law. Exporting this waste to less developed countries has been one way in which the industrialized world has avoided having to deal with the problem of expensive disposal and close public scrutiny at home. Environmental problems during the recycling of WEEE are not only linked to halogenated substances. Since most WEEE is shredded without proper disassembly. The overwhelming majority of the world’s hazardous waste is generated by industrialized market economies. In 1989 the world community established the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste for Final Disposal to stop the industrialized nations of the OECD from dumping their waste on less developed countries. The USA. has declined to sign the Convention. These emissions could be significantly reduced by means of pre-treatment operations. such as PCB contained in capacitors. Hazardous emissions to the air also result from the recycling of WEEE containing heavy metals. hazardous substances. may be dispersed into the recovered metals and the shredder waste. 20 .Waste Exports – an unknown.plastic containing flame retardants . most recyclers do not process any plastic from WEEE. It is difficult to find data on the amount of computer scrap leaving the US for countries such as Taiwan and China. CA estimated that it was 10 times cheaper to ship CRT monitors to China than it was to recycle them in the US. A pilot program that collected electronic scrap in San Jose. dangerous and secretive activity. such as lead and cadmium. This is because of past bad publicity and the fact that producers will sell scrap to recyclers and not bother finding out the final destination and fate of their end of life product. E.
lead & cadmium. The US has lobbied Governments in Asia to establish bilateral trade agreements to continue dumping their hazardous waste after the Basel Ban came into effect on January 1st 1998. It was clear however. switches and capacitors. including computers. As a result. mercury. Many of these hazardous substances are contained within individual components within the like circuit boards. and China. batteries. that this was not enough to stop the transport of waste which countries claimed was being exported for recycling purposes. now over 60 countries. agreed to an immediate ban on exports of hazardous waste destined for final disposal in nonOECD countries. are considered hazardous according to the Basel Convention Technical Working Group (TWG) because they can contain many hazardous components including PCB’s. promising an end to the export of hazardous waste from rich OECD countries to poor non-OECD countries for recovery operations by December 31st 1997. Seventy-seven non-OECD countries. pushed heavily for a ban on the shipping of waste for recycling. WEEE will remain regulated under these provisions unless it can be proved it does not contain hazardous constituents. The amount of computer scrap exported from the USA will continue to grow as product obsolescence increases. In 1994 parties to the Basel Convention. the Basel Ban was adopted.Electrical & electronic scrap. The USA has declined to participate. 21 .
the amount of wastes generated by human population was insignificant mainly due to the low population densities. and monthly burnings would occur. to mention a few. Historically. The Mayan Indians of Central America had dumps. They were perpetuated by filth that harbored rats. With the advent of industrial revolution.CHAPTER 4 History of waste management 4. However. Before the invention of metals. were diseases that altered the populations of Europe and influenced monarchies. wood was widely used for most applications. with minimal environmental impact. it is once again well documented that reuse and recovery of such metals have been carried out by earlier humans. There was a consequent increase in industrial and domestic wastes posing threat to human health and environment. reuse of wood has been well documented. Common wastes produced during the early ages were mainly ashes and human & biodegradable wastes. This was due to the increase in population and the massive migration of people to industrial towns and cities from rural areas during the 18th century. Homemakers brought trash to local dumps. waste management became a critical issue. and 22 . Many Mayan sites demonstrated such careless consumption. The Bubonic Plague. Consumption and waste of resources is probably related to supply available more than any other factor. which exploded occasionally and burned They also recycled.2 Waste management and disease in history : Waste has played a tremendous role in history. 4. Nevertheless. and these were released back into the ground locally.1 History of waste management : The history of waste management is descibed in this article. coupled with the fact there was very little exploitation of natural resources. cholera and typhoid fever.
Incinerators were first used during late 19th century in UK. or a nuisance. which fell onto the surrounding residential areas. considerable efforts had begun towards managing wastes. 4. they were opposed on the grounds of emissions. The Act also prohibited building upon contaminated land and laid down regulations for the management of landfill sites. was a statutory nuisance. however.contaminated water supply.3 Historical waste acts in the UK: By mid 19th century. • The Public Health Act 1936 related to the removal and disposal of waste. which was prejudicial to health. Some of these are highlighted below • The Public Health Act 1875 ruled that the accumulation of waste. Further to this. a series of legislation were passed in response to concern over human health and environment. starting an evolution of local authority power • The Clean Air Act 1956 signaled a decrease in the number of open fires in homes • The Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act 1972 came into effect due to dumping of cyanide waste leading to a huge public outcry • The Control of Pollution Act 1974 aimed for much wider control of waste disposal and regulation of sites 23 . It was not uncommon for Europeans to throw their waste and human wastes out of the window which would decompose in the street.
C.3 pounds of waste a day First municipal dump in western world organized. New York NY has first waste sorting plant for recycling. 9 1885 101889 111896 121898 13Turn of the Waste reduction plants. a result of methane production. Waste piles so high outside of Paris gates that it interferes with city defense. Rittenhouse Mill. 2 500 BC New Jerusalem 3 Testament Palestine of Bible 4 1388 5 1400 6 1690 7 1842 England Paris France Philadelphia England 8 1874 Nottingham England Governor's Island New York Washington." Sheoal was apparently a dump outside of the city of that periodically burned. thou art there. much of the burning was accidental. England. The first waste incinerator was built in USA Washington reported that we were running out of appropriate places for refuse. The Valley of Gehenna also called "Sheoal" in the New Testament of the Bible "Though I descent into Sheol. A report links disease to filthy environmental conditions . Later closed because of noxious emissions. By the turn of the century the waste problem was seen 24 . A new technology called "the Destructor" provided the first systematic incineration of refuse in Nottingham." English Parliament bars waste dispersal in public waterways and ditches. arrive in US."age of sanitation" begins.Table of the events in the history of waste management : Events in the history of waste management Date 1 6500 BC Location Notes Archeological studies shows a clan of Native North America Americans in what is now Colorado produced an average of 5. D. It became synonymous with "hell. Athens Greece Regulations required waste to be dumped at least a mile from the city limits. Until this time. for compressing organic United States wastes. Philadelphia makes paper from recycled fibers originating from waste paper and rags.
In 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) was created emphasizing recycling and waste United States management. Landfills were becoming a popular way of reclaiming swamp land while getting rid of trash. the Environmental United States Protection Agency created and the Resource Recovery Act enacted. 141900 151911 161914 171920's 181954 191965 201968 211970 221976 231979 24Today CHAPTER 25 5 .20th century as one of the greatest problems for local authorities. This was the result of two major events: the oil embargo and the discovery (or recognition) of Love Canal. New York City United States NYC citizens were producing 4. Olympia Washington United States Olympia Washington pays for return of aluminum cans. there were about 300 incinerators in the US for burning waste. The first federal solid waste management laws were enacted. Etc. Law passed requiring that waste had to be cooked before it could be fed to swine). "Piggeries" were developed to eat fresh or cooked waste (In the mid-50's an outbreak of vesicluar exenthama resulted in the destruction of 1. The first Earth Day was celebrated.000s of pigs that had eaten raw waste. United States The EPA issued criteria prohibiting open dumping.6 pounds of refuse a day (contrast to the Native Americans from 6500 BC mentioned above). By 1968 companies began buy back recycling of containers.
and that a thoroughly effective system of waste management may need an entirely new way of looking at waste. Some waste management experts have recently incorporated a 'fourth R': "Re-think". Some "re-think" solutions may be counter-intuitive.1 Waste management concepts : The waste hierarchy There are a number of concepts about waste management. The aim of the waste hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the minimum amount of waste. but the basic concept has remained the cornerstone of most waste minimization strategies. resulting in a decrease in net waste. with the implied meaning that the present system may have fundamental flaws. This type of solution is by no means limited to the clothing industry. The waste hierarchy has taken many forms over the past decade. Source reduction involves efforts to reduce hazardous waste and other materials by modifying industrial production. such as cutting fabric patterns with slightly more "waste material" left -.Waste management concepts 5. which vary in their usage between countries or regions. Source reduction methods involve changes in 26 .the now larger scraps are then used for cutting small parts of the pattern. The waste hierarchy: • • • reduce reuse recycle Classifies waste management strategies according to their desirability.
due to its emphasis on toxic chemical inputs. or the calorific content of the waste may be converted to electricity. as there is a finite supply of most raw materials. There is an increasing 27 . Toxics use reduction emphasizes the more preventive aspects of source reduction but.manufacturing technology. There are a number of methods of recovering resources from waste materials. are part of the informal sector. Massachusetts.. Another method of source reduction is to increase incentives for recycling.1 Resource recovery A relatively recent idea in waste management has been to treat the waste material as a resource to be exploited. and product formulation. Source reduction is typically measured by efficiencies and cutbacks in waste. In some developing nations some resource recovery already takes place by way of manual laborers who sift through un-segregated waste to salvage material that can be sold in the recycling market. but play a significant role in reducing the load on the Municipalities' Solid Waste Management departments. The process of extracting resources or value from waste is variously referred to as secondary resource recovery. At times. recycling. There is also a growing acknowledgement that simply disposing of waste materials is unsustainable in the long term.1. and other terms. New Jersey and Oregon. The practice of treating waste materials as a resource is becoming more common.g. e. 5. Toxics use reduction is a more controversial approach to source reduction that targets and measures reductions in the upstream use of toxic materials. Toxics use reduction programs have been set up by legislation in some states. raw material inputs. Many communities in the United States are implementing variable rate pricing for waste disposal (also known as Pay As You Throw . especially in metropolitan areas where space for new landfills is becoming scarcer. the term "pollution prevention" may refer to source reduction. instead of simply a challenge to be managed and disposed of. with new technologies and methods being developed continuously.PAYT) which has been effective in reducing the size of the municipal waste stream. There are a number of different methods by which resources may be extracted from waste: the materials may be extracted and recycled. These unrecognized workers called waste pickers or rag pickers. has been opposed more vigorously by chemical manufacturers.
and PS) are also recyclable. 5. so that the raw materials from these items can be used again (recycled). making them relatively easy to recycle into new products. newspapers. although not as commonly collected. and cardboard. The cost of collecting and sorting the materials often means that they are equally or more expensive than virgin materials.trend in recognizing their contribution to the environment and there are efforts to try and integrate them into the formal waste management systems. Much electronic waste is sent to Asia. HDPE and PET plastic bottles. The recycling of obsolete computers and electronic equipment is important. which is proven to be both cost effective and also appears to help in urban poverty alleviation. injury and reduced life expectancy through contact with toxic or infectious materials would not be tolerated in a developed country. where recovery of the gold and copper can cause environmental problems Recycled or used materials have to compete in the marketplace with new (virgin) materials. LDPE. However. where different materials are separated for recycling Recycling means to recover for other use a material that would otherwise be considered waste.1. the most common consumer items recycled include aluminium beverage cans. magazines.2 Recycling A materials recovery facility. In developed countries. paperboard cartons. PP. glass bottles and jars. They are collected and sorted into common groups. the very high human cost of these activities including disease. food and aerosol cans. Other types of plastic (PVC. These items are usually composed of a single type of material. The popular meaning of ‘recycling’ in most developed countries has come to refer to the widespread collection and reuse of various everyday waste materials. This is most often the case in 28 . but more costly due to the separation and extraction problems. steel.
This processing may be to reduce the hazard of the waste. do not have a formal waste-collection system in place. water and other resources to recycle materials than to produce new materials . as choice items are removed (such as aluminium cans). recover material for recycling. In some countries. followed by disposal. whereby the city collects waste. especially those in less developed areas. produce energy from the waste.S. and or recyclables. compared with extracting virgin materials. Collection methods vary widely between different countries and regions. material for recycling is collected separately from general waste. 29 . and it would be impossible to describe them all.4 gallon) bin that is emptied weekly by the local council. In many areas. In rural areas people dispose of their waste at transfer stations. recycling steel saves about 95% of the energy used to refine virgin ore (source: U. a level of processing may follow collection. recycling programs are subsidised by deposits paid on beverage containers. Practices such as trash picking can reduce this value further. most economic systems do not account for the benefits to the environment of recycling these materials.17 tonnes CO2eq greenhouse gases. However. Other waste management processes recover these materials from general waste streams.2 Waste management techniques : Managing municipal waste. 5. with dedicated bins and collection vehicles. Many areas. and or organics on a scheduled basis from residential areas.developed countries where industries producing the raw materials are wellestablished. Bureau of Mines). in Australia most urban domestic households have a 240 litre (63. recycling 1000 kg of aluminum cans saves approximately 5000 kg of bauxite ore being mined (source: ALCOA Australia) and prevents the generation of 15. but are more complex and expensive. The economics of recycling junked automobiles also depends on the scrap metal market except where recycling is mandated by legislation (as in Germany). Waste collected is then transported to a regional landfill. For example. This usually results in greater levels of recovery than separate collections of consumer-separated beverage containers. Depending upon the type of waste and the area. For example. or reduce it in volume for more efficient disposal. In Canadian urban centres curbside collection is the most common method of disposal. It usually requires significantly less energy. industrial waste and commercial waste has traditionally consisted of collection.
Many landfills also have a landfill gas extraction system installed after closure to extract the landfill gas generated by the decomposing waste materials. and is a greenhouse gas. This gas can create odor problems. and covered to prevent attracting vermin (such as mice or rats) and reduce the amount of wind-blown litter. kill surface vegetation. By contrast. such as clay or plastic lining material. A properly-designed and well-managed landfill can be a hygienic and relatively inexpensive A landfill compaction vehicle in method of disposing of waste materials in a way that operation minimises their impact on the local environment. Disposed waste is normally compacted to increase its density and stablise the new landform. especially in urban areas. in Japan it is more common for waste to be incinerated. which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. landfills were often established in disused quarries. Many local authorities.1 Landfill : Disposing of waste in a landfill is the most traditional method of waste disposal. 5. Older. Design characteristics of a modern landfill include methods to contain leachate. have found it difficult to establish new landfills due to opposition from owners of adjacent land. and generation of leachate which can pollute groundwater and surface water. and it remains a common practice in most countries. Historically. Few people want a 30 . Even flaring the gas is a better environmental outcome than allowing it to escape to the atmosphere. because the country is smaller and land is scarce.Disposal methods also vary widely. which is produced as organic waste breaks down anaerobically.2. Gas is pumped out of the landfill using perforated pipes and flared off or burnt in a gas engine to generate electricity. poorly-designed or poorlymanaged landfills can create a number of adverse environmental impacts such as wind-blown litter. In Australia. mining voids or borrow pits. as this consumes the methane. attraction of vermin. as it is a large country with a low-density population. Another byproduct of landfills is landfill gas (mostly composed of methane and carbon dioxide). the most common method of disposal of solid waste is in landfill sites.
The by-products of one industry may be a useful commodity to another. In effect. incineration of waste materials converts the waste into heat. Massachusetts. These efforts include taxing or levying waste sent to landfill. designing products that use less material. as well as growing concern about the impacts of excessive materials consumption. solid waste disposal in these areas has become more expensive as material must be transported further away for disposal . As a result. Incineration and other high temperature waste treatment systems are described as "thermal treatment". Incineration is a waste disposal method that involves the combustion of waste at high temperatures. leading to a reduced materials waste stream. A related subject is that of industrial ecology. A waste-to-energy plant (WtE) is a modern term for an incinerator that burns wastes in high-efficiency furnace/boilers to produce steam and/or electricity and incorporates 31 . converting material to energy. as a method of long-term storage. recycling the materials.landfill in their local neighborhood. Other types of thermal treatment include pyrolysis and gasification. the first plant in the United States. they will become valuable enough that it would be economical to 'mine' them from landfills where these materials were previously discarded as valueless. where the material flows between industries is studied. has given rise to efforts to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill in many areas.2 Incineration : A waste-to-energy plant in Saugus. waste vehicle tyres). Some futurists have speculated that landfills may one day be mined: as some resources become more scarce.g. and residual solid ash. A related idea is the establishment of a 'monofill' landfill containing only one waste type (e. 5. This fact. and legislation mandating that manufacturers become responsible for disposal costs of products or packaging. gaseous emissions.2.
It is recognised as a practical method of disposing of certain hazardous waste materials (such as biological medical waste). though it remains a controversial method of waste disposal in many places due to issues such as emission of gaseous pollutants. although hybrids of the two methods also exist. 32 . and paper products. There are a large variety of composting and digestion methods and technologies.3 Composting and anaerobic digestion : An active compost heap Waste materials that are organic in nature.modern air pollution control systems and continuous emissions monitors. The resulting stabilized organic material is then recycled as mulch or compost for agricultural or landscaping purposes. and on a large scale by industry. 5. This type of incinerator is sometimes called an energy-from-waste (EfW) facility. as they do not consume as such area as a landfill. such as plant material. Incineration is popular in countries such as Japan where land is a scarce resource. Sweden has been a leader in using the energy generated from incineration over the past 20 years.2. These methods of biological decomposition are differentiated as being aerobic in composting methods or anaerobic in digestion methods. food scraps. Incineration is carried out both on a small scale by individuals. to automated enclosed-vessel digestion of mixed domestic waste. These materials are put through a composting and/or digestion system to control the biological process to decompose the organic matter and kill pathogens. Denmark also extensively uses waste-to-energy incineration in localised combined heat and power facilities supporting district heating schemes. varying in complexity from simple windrow composting of shredded plant material. are increasingly being recycled.
This is not the case. Anaerobic digestion breaks down the biodegradable component of the waste to produce biogas and soil conditioner. MBT is also sometimes termed BMT. Biological can also refer to a composting stage. Tel Aviv. Some systems such as ArrowBio simply recover the recyclable elements of the waste in a form that can be sent for recycling. Israel Mechanical biological treatment (MBT) is a technology category for combinations of mechanical sorting and biological treatment of the organic fraction of municipal waste. This either removes recyclable elements from a mixed waste stream (such as metals. 33 .5. ArrowBio UASB anaerobic digesters. Hiriya. Here the organic component is treated with aerobic microorganisms.2.Biological Mechanical Treatmenthowever this simply refers to the order of processing. Israel The "biological" element refers to either anaerobic digestion or composting. It is a common misconception that all MBT processes produce RDF. Hiriya. There is no green energy produced by systems simply employing composting. ArrowBiowet material recovery facility. The biogas can be used to generate renewable energy. More advanced processes such as the ArrowBio Process enable high rates of gas and green energy production without the production of RDF. Tel Aviv. Systems which are configured to produce RDF include Herhofand Ecodeco. They break down the waste into carbon dioxide and compost. The "mechanical" element is usually a bulk handling mechanical sorting stage. plastics and glass) or processes it in a given way to produce a high calorific fuel given the term refuse derived fuel (RDF) that can be used in cement kilns or power plants. This is facilitated by processing the waste in water.4 Mechanical biological treatment .
Gasification is used in biomass power stations to produce renewable energy and heat. The gas is then burnt to produce electricity and steam. The liquid oil and gas can be burnt to produce energy or refined into other products. Converting material to energy this way is more efficient than direct incineration.2. The process typically occurs in a sealed vessel under high pressure. CHAPTER 6 A STEP IN RIGHT DIRECTION 34 . liquid and gas products. 5.5 Pyrolysis & gasification : Pyrolysis and gasification are two related forms of thermal treatment where waste materials are heated to high temperatures with limited oxygen availability. with more energy able to be recovered and used. Pyrolysis of solid waste converts the material into solid. The solid residue (char) can be further refined into products such as activated carbon. Gasification is used to convert organic materials directly into a synthetic gas (syngas) composed of carbon monoxide and hydrogen.MBT is gaining increased recognition in countries with changing waste management markets such as the UK and Australia where WSN Environmental Solutions has taken a leading role in developing MBT plants.
' The European Union (EU) has drafted legislation on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (the WEEE Directive) based on the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility.EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY AND E-TOXICS PHASE-OUTS Europe has taken the lead on reducing E-waste from electronic products by making producers responsible for taking back their products. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) focuses on the responsibility that producers assume for their products at the end of their useful life (post-consumer stage). Producer Responsibility is the principle that producers bear a degree of responsibility for all the environmental impacts of their products.. from the use and disposal of products. This is known as Extended Producer Responsibility. However. product take-back needs to go hand-in-hand with mandatory legislation to phase-out e-toxics. The Europeans have taken the lead on this because: • The rapid growth of WEEE is a growing concern. when discarded) either directly or through a third party. Other terms used are 'take-back'. The growth of WEEE is about 3 times higher than the growth of the other municipal waste streams. i. This includes upstream impacts arising from the choice of materials and from the manufacturing process as well as the downstream impacts. In its widest sense. 'product liability' or 'life cycle product responsibility.e. The aim of EPR is to encourage producers to prevent pollution and reduce resource and energy use in each stage of the product life cycle through changes in product ddesign and process technology. The model example of EPR is product take-back where a producer takes back a product at the end of its useful life (i. 35 .e.
Austria. What the European Union has proposed as a solution for E-scrap: 36 . By ensuring this feedback to the producer and by making them financially responsible for end of life waste management. This can be achieved through the phase out of hazardous materials. upgrade. Denmark. re-use. Finland and Germany. The new draft WEEE Directive. who manufacturer the product in the first place and who are ultimately in charge of ddesigning the product. The ultimate aim is to close the loop of the product life cycle so that producers. The objective of the WEEE draft directive is to require manufacturers to improve the ddesign of their products in order to avoid the generation of waste and to facilitate the recovery and disposal of electronic scrap. harmonizes all these countries’ initiatives to allow industry to operate uniformly throughout Europe. Sweden. This change in the market economics – in effect the internalization of costs that are currently passed off to the general public – will encourage the ddesign of products for repair.• The hazardous nature of the products pose significant waste management problems. as well as the development of efficient systems of collection. This includes the Netherlands. Italy. incinerated or recovered without any pre-treatment constitutes an important share of various pollutants found in the municipal waste stream • Various member states within Europe have already drafted legislation on this subject. Belgium. get their products back and assume full responsibility for life cycle costs. producers will have a financial incentive to ddesign their products with less hazardous and more recyclable materials. dismantling and safer recycling. There are estimates that the 90% of WEEE that is landfilled. re-use and recycling. therefore.
• • Producers can undertake the treatment operation in another country. both by numbers of units and by weight. • Producers must ddesign equipment that includes labels for recyclers that identify plastic types and location of all dangerous substances. Originally the EU stipulated that by 2004 new equipment must contain at least five percent of recycled plastic content but this provision was recently dropped because of intense industry lobbying. components containing the following substances must be removed from any end of life equipment which is destined for landfill. but this should not lead to shipments of WEEE to non-EU countries where no or lower treatment standards than in the EU exist. asbestos and beryllium. Accordingly. Member states must collect information from producers on a yearly basis about quantities of equipment put on the market. Instead the revised Directive ‘encourages’ member states to set recycled content in their procurement policies. incineration with energy recovery is allowed for the 10% to 30% of waste remaining. However. PCBs. as well as on the market saturation in the respective product sectors. • It puts full financial responsibility on producers to set up collection. hexavalent chromium and two classes of brominated flame-retardants in electronic and electrical goods by the year 2004. producers shall deliver WEEE only to those establishments which comply with the treatment and 37 . hexavalent chromium. 70% recycling must be met. radioactive substances. For disposal. halogenated flame-retardants. since on the one hand it encourages recycling but then does not stipulate recycled content in new products. • • • • Member states shall encourage producers to integrate an increasing quantity of recycled material in new products.• The draft WEEE Directive will phase-out the use of mercury. recycling and disposal systems. "Recycling" does not include incineration. In the case of computers and monitors. mercury. This is a major weakening of the directive. cadmium. incineration or recovery: lead. Between 70% to 90% by weight of all collected equipment must be recycled or re-used. This information will be transmitted to the EU Commission by 2004 and every three years after that date. cadmium. so companies won’t be able to meet recycling goals by burning the waste.
many object to mandatory phase-outs of the most toxic materials. but maintain that the responsibility for treatment. It is envisaged that the extra costs of waste management will be reflected in 1% to 3% higher retail price on some items. 38 . Also. However. the EU believes this is likely to diminish as economies of scale and innovation bring down the costs of separately collecting and treating WEEE. since their recycling costs will be lower. the issue of who should pay is at the heart of Extended Producer Responsibility. Consumers who buy the product should pay the full price of that product’s waste management rather than the general taxpayer who may never purchase that particular product. member states and the US government? Some industry representatives support harmonized legislation and the objectives of the WEEE proposal. recovery and disposal should be assigned to producers. However.recycling requirements set out in the proposal and producers shall verify compliance through adequate certifications. Industry objects to the financial responsibility for collection of WEEE from private households but accepts a certain involvement in the recycling stage of their products. since it is actually an extension of and mechanism to implement the "polluter pays" principle. No country favors a voluntary approach and there is general agreement about involving producers in the waste management phase of electrical and electronic equipment. although most agree in principle with the need to minimize their use. Companies that learn how to produce products that are less hazardous and easier and less costly to recycle will develop a competitive advantage. The 15 Member States of the EU in general welcome the directive. What has been the response of industry. Some countries favor the involvement of municipalities in the collection of WEEE.
nonhalogenated lead wires and non-halogenated plastics. There is a range of lead-free solders now available. 39 . They are also developing a cartridge which can be rewritten without exchanging parts or modules allowing the customer to upgrade at low cost. Most of these problems have their source in the development and ddesign of the products concerned. their first totally-recyclable television sets.C. Researchers at Delft University in Holland are investigating the ddesign of a wind up laptop similar to the wind-up radio that plays one hour for every 20 seconds of hand winding. Their number is increasing and their life is decreasing.5 pounds of resin per product. Toshiba is working on a modular upgradable and customizable computer to cut down on the amount of product obsolescence.CHAPTER 7 WHAT IS A CLEAN COMPUTER ? WHAT IS A CLEAN COMPUTER? "Electronic products should actually be considered chemical waste products. Chair of the UNEP workgroup on Sustainable Product Ddesign Many companies have shown they can ddesign cleaner products. substitutes need to be proven for safety." Sony Corp has developed a lead-free solder alloy. Printed circuit boards can be reddesigned to use a different base material. Matsushita is "accelerating efforts to eliminate toxic substances and develop more environmentally benign materials such as lead-free solder. which is usable in conventional soldering equipment. in Japan. Electronic waste piles are growing. van Weenan. Pressures to eliminate halogenated flame-retardants and ddesign products for recycling have led to the use of metal shielding in computer housings. Industry is making some progress to ddesign cleaner products but we need to move beyond pilot projects and ensure all products are upgradeable and non-toxic Some examples: • • • • • • • Hewlett-Packard Company has developed a safe cleaning method for chips using carbon dioxide cleaning as a substitute for hazardous solvents. which is self-extinguishing. thereby eliminating the need for flame-retardants. Matsushita also developed "the first ever lead-free solder for flow soldering applications and have recently launched." Dr J. as is their pollution potential. Obviously. In 1998 IBM introduced the first computer that uses 100% recycled resin (PC/ABS) in all major plastic parts for a total of 3.
and more accessible to everyone. To first ask what is a clean computer. Because many of the materials used are non-renewable.Sustainable product ddesign asks that we consider: 1. lighter and more integrated. Other companies propose centralized networks similar to the telephone system. Bio-based toners. repair and/or upgradability Some computer manufacturers such as Dell and Gateway lease out their products thereby ensuring they get them back to further upgrade and lease out again. Some think this could lead to information control and lack of privacy. Rethink the product ddesign. we need to ask what function the computer serves. less materials intensive. Bio-based plastics exist but they do not see common use because of lack of market demand and the low price of petroleum-based plastics. Others think this would make access to the internet cheaper. while achieving comparable privacy as is found with the current use of PCs anyway. Is it something to transmit information. data and graphics? Can we achieve that without this amount of hazardous material sitting on our work desks? Efforts to reduce material use are mirrored in some new computer ddesigns that are flatter. ddesigners could ensure the product is built for re-use. Use renewable materials and energy. Bio-based plastics are plastics made with plant-based chemicals or plant produced polymers rather than from petro-chemicals. Use non-renewable materials that are safer. glues and inks also exist and are used more frequently. 40 . 3. 2. Here consumers would have only a simple screen and keyboard at home or in the office and we would pay a monthly fee based on the level of software complexity we would want to access. Solar computers also exist but they are currently very expensive.
Industry is making some progress to ddesign cleaner products but we need to move beyond pilot projects and ensure all products are upgradeable and non-toxic.CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION CONCLUSION"Electronic products should actually be considered chemical waste products." We have the need of “Clean Computers”. Their number is increasing and their life is decreasing. So that many companies have shown they can ddesign cleaner products. Most of these problems have their source in the development and ddesign of the products concerned. Electronic waste piles are growing. as is their pollution potential. 41 .
org www.enviornment.au 42 .REFERENCES REFERENCES• • • http://en.wikipedia.gov.com www.goole.nsw.
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