November 17, 2010

Santa will create more E-Waste

Santa may try to be green, but . . . 

More of us will get new computers, cell phones, and other electronics this Christmas. What happens to the old stuff? Too much of it ends up in our landfills where it can create health and environmental hazards as chemicals leach out of these discards.

Many folks know that a LOT of our E-Waste is shipped to China, where much of it is not recycled responsibly. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently visited the town of Guiyu in Guandong Province, China. This town is noteworthy for its large electronic waste recycling industry. Hopefully, these folks are recycling our "stuff" responsibly and conserving our resources.

What resources? There are a lot of precious metals and rare earth minerals in our electronics. The EPA news release states, "For every 1 million cell phones recycled, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and more than 35,000 pounds of copper can be recovered."

To see where you can recycle your E-waste, see the "Recycling Guide" on this blog.

A Virginia law that went into effect on 7-1-09 requires a computer manufacturer that in any calendar year manufactures computer equipment in excess of 500 units which were sold in Virginia under its brand or license to implement a recovery/recycling plan for those computers at no charge to the consumer. Manufacturers must also affix a permanent, readily visible label to all computer equipment with the manufacturer's brand and post all recovery program information on a publically available website.

For a listing of Computer Manufacturers that have a recovery plan in place, Click Here. Many of these manufacturers have mail-in programs available at no cost to the consumer.

There are also many E-Waste vendors currently providing electronics collection services for Virginia: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/ecycling/computer.html .

EVEN BETTER, click on http://earth911.com/iphone/ to download a handy recycling app from Earth911 on your iPhone.