The world is fueled by devices that consume society’s every whim, desire, and technological fix. For many, these devices are the quintessential reason for life and consumes a person’s daily existence. It is only proper that the corporations that design and manufacture these devices incorporate new technologies into their proceeding designs.
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Once the version reaches the market place, the citizenry of the world crave, stalk, hunt, and virtually acquire the device. In most cases, the new device is not that much different from its predecessor, yet while new devices are acquired the others no longer serve a purpose and are abandoned and forgotten. For some, these devices find their way into the hands of charities for distribution to the needy; others are traded in for refurbishment and resale, while others are improperly discarded as trash destined to rest in peace in landfills.
The issue of recycling e-waste (electronic waste or short-life-cycle electronic product), its environmental impact, and resolution became a concern to Lee, Chang, Fan, and Chang in their 2003 article “An overview of Recycling and Treatment of Scrap Computers” in which the authors provide statistical data, facts, and develops sound alternatives to the problem at hand. The purpose of the research was to measure the effects of these devices ending in landfills and to provide a preemptive remedy to properly remediate, dismantle, and recover components and materials to avoid contaminating landfills and endangering the planet and its populations.
Though the paper does not depict who is responsible, it becomes the responsibility of each person on the planet to do their part by making proper arraignments for their devices when they have reached the end of their usefulness. If the Earth’s population continues to consume and dispose of these gadgets at the current rate, then the world for future generations will become a cesspool of acidic puddles containing cancer-causing agents. Even though this article was written over fifteen years ago, its mantra still is clear, pristine, and ever so much more important, fix the problem now, or reap the caustic realty of tomorrow.
In 2014, The United States “generated 11.7 million tons of e-waste; …globally, 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated with only 6.5 million tons treated by electronic take back systems (recyclers). (LeBlanc, 2018) With only 6.5 million tons recycled, 30.1 million tons did not. The abundance of e-waste is directly correlated to improvements in manufacturing technologies that allows these products to be produced quicker. In turn, resulting in “large quantities of relinquished personal computers, and other electronic devices, containing hazardous materials.”(Lee CH1, 2004). The materials that can be remediated properly are lead, batteries, capacitors, mercury-containing parts, and plastics. Once placed in landfills, they can pollute the environment if not properly disposed of in a facility capable of handling this kind of e-waste.
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