Submitted by: Karuna Khadka
Submitted to: Richard Lahti
Subject: Environment and technology
With the advancement of world’s technology in information and communication, there has been tremendous change in the life style and way of learning of people. Electronic products plays a vital role in everything people do and own such as computers, cell phones, television sets, refrigerators, laptops, office electronic equipment and entertainment electronic devices. The demand for electronic equipment has been raised rapidly. Constant change of features in electronic devices and easily accessible to improved electronic products force the consumers to dump the electronic equipment rapidly. These have brought serious challenges to the environment producing tons of waste.
“E- Waste”, “electronic waste”, “end-of-life electronics” and “e-scrap” are the terms to refer used electronics that are broken old, broken or irreparable electronic devices. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers e- waste to be a subset of used electronics and recognizes the inherent value with these materials that can be reused, refurbished or recycled to minimize the actual waste that might end up in a landfill or improperly disposed in an unprotected dump site either in the US or abroad.
Electronic waste or e- waste is the largest and fastest growing waste in the industrialized world. It is rapidly growing problem due to its volume, toxicity and carcinogenicity. The quantity of e- waste produced daily continues t increase because the markets for these products are quickly expanding. It is not just the problem US but the problem of entire world. Computes are thought to be main contributor but compromises only a portion of it. House hold appliances are also the great contributor for e- waste. As the price gets cheaper on electronic appliances, global demand increases. Mostly, the hazardous materials are poorly regulated resulting threat to human, animals and plants. Generally, it is dumped with common household garbage.
In the USA, people own over 200 billion prices of high tech consumer electronics: computers, cell phones, televisions, printers, fax machines, microwaves, personal data devices and entertainment systems. Americans own over 200 million computers, well over 200 million television, and over 150 million cell phones. Each year five to seven million tons of this stuff becomes obsolete. Here, e- waste accounts for 1 to 3 % of total municipal waste generation. In 2008, EPA completed a study about the waste volume and found that in 2007 of the 2.25 million tons of television, cell phones and computer products ready for the end of life, 18%( 414,000 tons) were collected for recycling and 82% (1.84 million tons) were disposed of primarily in landfills.
According to European Community directive 2002/96/EC on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (European Commission, 2010), e- waste is growing three times faster than average annual municipal solid waste generation. It is estimated that the total amount of e- waste generated in the EU ranges from five to seven million tons per annum and is expected to grow at the rate of 3% to 5% per year. In developing countries, it ranges from 0.01% to 1% of the total municipal solid waste generation. Domestic e- waste is growing everywhere in the world, especially in the over-population countries like China and India. The united Nations Environment Program estimates that the world generates some twenty to fifty million metric tons of e-waste each year.
The lacks of clear disposal mechanism and well developed structures to handle e- waste have resulted in controversial issues for management of e- waste. The accurate data regarding generation of e- waste, its management and its process are largely unavailable. E- waste recycling may involve complex processes and it is expensive. Therefore, majority of e- waste collected in industrialized countries