Tuesday, July 17, 2012

E-waste Crises and Management

E-waste Crises and Management:
What is E-waste?

E-waste or Electronic waste is a popular, informal name for electronic products nearing the end of their useful life. Computers, televisions, VCRs,,stereos, copiers, and fax machines are common electronic products. Many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. E-waste may also be any broken or unwanted electrical or electronic appliance.

E-waste is the inevitable by-product of a technological revolution.
Electronic products often contain hazardous and toxic materials that pose environmental risks if they are land filled or incinerated .Televisions, video and computer monitors use cathode ray tubes (CRTs), which have significant amounts of lead.• Printed circuit boards contain primarily plastic and copper , and most have small amounts of chromium, lead solder, nickel, and zinc.In addition, many electronic products have batteries that often contain nickel, cadmium, and other heavy metals . Relays and switches in electronics, especially older ones, may contain mercury.Also , capacitors in some types of older and larger equipment that is now entering the waste stream may contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) .
How the E-waste affects the environment?

Electronic waste isn’t just waste, it contains some very toxic substances, such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, beryllium and brominated flame retardants. When the latter are burned at low temperatures they create additional toxins, such as halogenated dioxins and furans – some of the most toxic substances known to humankind. The toxic materials in electronics can cause cancer, reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, and many other health problems if this waste stream is not properly managed. Many of the toxic constituents are elements, which means they never disappear, even though they may change form. Other toxic chemicals in electronics do not break down over time and instead, accumulate in the food chain and biosphere.

What causes the E-waste crises?

1)Toxic design

2)Poor design and complexity

3)No financial incentive to recycle

4)Lack of regulation requiring proper management
E-waste Management

In industries management of e-waste should begin at the point of generation. This can be done by waste minimization techniques and by sustainable product design.

Waste minimization in industries involves the following:

1)inventory management

2)production-process modification

3)volume reduction

4)recovery and reuse.
It is not only the responsibility of the government and the industry to manage the E-waste but the citizens should also work towards this and help in managing the E-waste.

e-Stewards recycling solutions

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