Tag Archives: e-wastes

Trading in trash: Nairobi’s e-waste entrepreneurs – in pictures

Trading in trash: Nairobi’s e-waste entrepreneurs – in pictures. The Guardian, February 1, 2017.

From small-scale traders to a company processing hundreds of tonnes of e-waste, we explore Nairobi’s relationship with a burgeoning waste stream and visit the people turning it into a resource. Photographs and words by Nathan Siegel.  nairobi

John Obanda, who owns a repair shop, fixes a broken motherboard. Obanda sources items from collectors who work in nearby landfill sites and is one of thousands of traders who buy and recycle discarded electrical and electronic goods in Nairobi.

E-waste has ballooned in the city in the past decade due to rising mobile phone penetration and a burgeoning middle class.

Read the complete article.

The Toxic Legacy of 4.3 Million Flammable Samsung Smartphones

The Toxic Legacy of 4.3 Million Flammable Samsung Smartphones. TakePart, November 2, 2016.

Greenpeace presses the electronics giant to recycle the defective phones and keep their hazardous components out of landfills.

What will become of the 4.3 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones at risk of spontaneous combustion? The environmental group Greenpeace says Samsung’s corporate crisis presents a “big opportunity” to develop a new model for recycling and repurposing e-waste.

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, “has said that it will not recycle the phones and has still not offered any clarity on what it will do,” Greenpeace claimed in a statement.

Smartphones contain toxic heavy metals such as hexavalent chromium, arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium. They enter the environment when buried or incinerated and accumulate in air, soil, and water, as well as in humans and wildlife. Much of the electronic waste ends up in such countries as Vietnam, China, and Nigeria, where poor communities burn circuit boards and plastic and soak microchips in acid to extract materials, which can turn entire villages into toxic waste dumps.

Read the complete article.

Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal

Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal. Nature, August 2016.

International cooperation is needed to stop developed nations simply offloading defunct electronics on developing countries, argue Zhaohua Wang, Bin Zhang and Dabo Guan.

The world is producing ever more electrical and electronic waste. The quantity of dumped computers, telephones, televisions and appliances doubled between 2009 and 2014, to 42 million tonnes per year globally.

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Jie Zhao/Corbis/Getty. An electronic-waste recycling factory in Hubei, China.

Developed countries, especially in North America and Europe, produce the most e-waste (see ‘Unfair flow’). The United States generates the largest amount, and China the second most.

Much of this waste ends up in the developing world, where regulation is lax. China processed about 70% of the world’s e-waste in 2012; the rest goes to India and other countries in eastern Asia and Africa, including Nigeria. Non-toxic components — such as iron, steel, copper and gold — are valuable, so are more frequently recycled than toxic ones. Disposal plants release toxic materials, volatile organic chemicals and heavy metals, which can harm the environment and human health.

Lead levels sampled in the blood of children in the e-waste-processing town of Guiyu, China, were on average three times the safe limit recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention6. In California, peregrine falcons have been threatened — polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which are widely used as flame-retardants in electronics, have been discovered in their eggs.

A global approach to managing the volume and flow of e-waste is urgently needed. This requires: an international protocol on e-waste; funding for technology transfer; firmer national legislation on imports and exports; and greater awareness of the problem among consumers. Researchers and regulators should build a global e-waste flow system that covers the whole life cycle of electrical goods, including production, usage, disposal, recovery and remanufacturing.

Beyond better recycling, the ultimate aim should be a circular economy of cleaner production and less wasteful consumption, including the embrace of a sharing economy and cloud-based technologies with smaller material footprints. As the world’s largest producer of electronic goods and recipient of the most e-waste, China should take the lead.

 

Cleaning up the E-Waste Recycling Industry

Cleaning up the E-Waste Recycling Industry. Source: Julie Ann Aelbrecht, Huffington Post, Jan 5 2016.

Upon opening a shipment of computers it had received through the International Children’s Fund (ICF), a Ghanaian school discovered the equipment sent was 15 years old. Most of the computers needed replacement parts, parts that weren’t available anymore. In the end, the school managed to get only a single computer working again.

While the ICF had good intentions, a fake charity had handed it a container of what was meant to be workable secondhand material that was actually closer to its end of life–that is, effectively waste. That unfortunate Ghanaian school is only one victim in a long chain of corruption, theft and organized crime that stretches from Brussels to Cape Town.

This is the global trade in electronic waste, or e-waste. It is estimated to be worth over $19 billion and leaves a trail of criminality behind it. The flow of discarded electronics follows a route where European countries turn a blind eye to theft and major companies bend and break recycling rules to get electronics to developing markets, where the waste disappears into dangerous ad hoc dumps. There, the waste is often dealt with by illegal recyclers in ways that are catastrophic to the environment and human health.

But while e-waste is a dirty business, some are trying to clean it up, mostly by bringing these informal recyclers slowly into the regulated recycling industry.

Read the complete article.

 

UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’

UN: Treated Waste Could be ‘Gold Mine’ | Source: Environmental Leader – Oct 10 2013

Recycling and waste treatment can be a “gold mine,” perhaps literally, according to a UN report that finds treated waste can be put to profitable use. un-landfills

For example, 1 metric ton of electrical and electronic wastecontains as much gold as 5 to 15 metric tons of typical gold ore, and amounts of copper, aluminum and rare metals that exceed by many times the levels found in typical ores. As a result, printed circuit boards are probably the “richest ore stream you’re ever going to find,” according to the Guidelines for National Waste Management Strategies: Moving from Challenges to Opportunities.

Many waste products can be reused and, if waste is separated at source, the uncontaminated organic fraction can be composted or digested anaerobically, the report says.

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