APES notes Chapter 21

APES notes Chapter 21 - APES notes Chapter 21 Core Case...

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APES notes Chapter 21 Core Case Study: E-waste---an Exploding Problem o Electronic waste or e-waste, consists of discarded television sets, cell phones, computers, e-toys, and other electronic devices o Fastest-growing solid waste problem in the United States and in the world o Each year, Americans discard an estimated 155 million cell phones, 48 million personal computers, and many more millions of TV sets, ipods, Blackberries, and other electronic products o Most e-waste ends up in landfills and incinerators and includes high- quality plastics and valuable metals such as aluminum, copper, nickel, platinum, silver, and gold o E-waste is a source of toxic and hazardous pollutants, including polyvinylchloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants, lead, and mercury, which can contaminate air, surface water, groundwater, and soil and cause serious health problems and even early death for e-waste workers o About 70% of the world’s e-waste is shipped to China, while most of the rest goes to India and poor African nations where labor is cheap and environmental regulations are weak o Workers there---many of them children---dismantle such products to recover valuable metals and reusable parts. As they do this they are exposed to toxic metals and other harmful chemicals. They remaining scrap is dumped in waterways and fields or burned in open fires, exposing many people to toxic dioxins o Transferring hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries is banned by the International Basel Convention. Even so, much e-waste is not classified as hazardous waste or is illegally smuggled to countries such as China. The US can export this waste legally because it is one of only three countries that have not ratified the Basel Convention (the other two are Afghanistan and Haiti) o The European Union has led the way in dealing with e-waste. Its cradle- to-grave approach requires manufacturers to take back electronic products at the ends of their useful lives for repair, remanufacture, or recycling and e-waste is banned from landfills and incinerators. Japan is also adopting cradle-to-grave standards for electronics o The US produces roughly half of the world’s waste and recycles only about 10-15% of it; but that is beginning to change o Massachusetts and five other states have banned the disposal of computers and TV sets in landfills and incinerators. Some electronics manufacturers, including Apple, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sharp, Panasonic, and Sony, have free recycling programs for consumers We throw away huge amounts of useful things and hazardous materials o In nature, there is essentially no waste because the wastes of one organism become nutrients for another o Humans, on the other hand, produce huge amounts of wastes that go unused and pollute the environment
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o The amount of waste produced can be drastically reduced o Solid waste Any unwanted or discarded material we produce that is not a liquid or a gas Solid waste can be divided into two types
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APES notes Chapter 21 - APES notes Chapter 21 Core Case...

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