Friday, 13 May 2016

Tracking Electronic Waste

Do you want to know where electronic waste will likely end up in? 

Nonprofit organisation, Basel Action Network (BAN), working with the help of MIT Senseable City Lab, put GPS trackers on e-waste in USA and discovered that much of it ended up in Asia.  You can view the interactive map from "e-Trash Transparency Project" at the following link:

BAN  issues “e-Steward” certification to recyclers who are able to handle these materials with social responsibility and use environmentally sound practices.  The idea is to keep e-waste out of landfills and to prevent electronics waste from being exported to countries with poor regulations as they can be harmful to their environment and the people put in place to work on them.

The tracking device has enabled BAN to audit recyclers they have certified.  As a result of this investigation, the “e-Steward” certification for Total Reclaim, a Seattle-based e-waste recycler, has been revoked.

That is how Dell discovered that even some of their used electronic items have been exported to Asia. Dell has a "Reconnect program", which encourages consumers to donate electronic items that they no longer use. These should have been collected, refurbished and sold at an affordable cost to those in need or "recycled responsibly" through their partnership with Goodwill Industries, a nonprofit organization. The "Reconnect program" creates green jobs and support Goodwill's efforts to help disadvantaged people and those with disabilities by providing education, training and career services. It looks like there is a loophole somewhere that Dell needs to fix.

If this bothers you, what else can you do with your used electronic devices that you plan to replace? Randy Sarafan has some ideas and you may be inspired to start a new hobby after reading his book, "62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer: (And Other Discarded Electronics)". 

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