Technology and the Environment: E-Waste


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Social Impact Of Technology
By: Carl Lesperance
Professer: Emily Brett
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Published in: Business, Technology
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Technology and the Environment: E-Waste

  2. 2. OVERVIEW• Introduction• Heavy Metals in Electronics• Where Does E-Waste Go?• E-Waste Innovation• What Can You Do?• Conclusions• References (Engebretson, 2008)
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION• In todays growing world there are growing environmental concerns that accompany the advancement of technology.• Everything we make as a products or offer as services has hidden environmental consequences.• Sometimes we do not understand the potential risks of technology until something goes wrong.• Even though there is a growing risk, there are ways that technology is helping the environment. (Do Something, n d)
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION• With the increase of technology the more demand for electronics and computers there is. Also with technology improving faster electronics deprecate faster causing an influx in electronic waste (E-waste).• The United States dumps between 300 million and 400 million electronic items per year, and less than 20% of that E-waste is recycled (Do Something, n d).• Most of the electronic boards contain heavy metals and other harmful materials. Some examples of these materials are Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Lithium.
  5. 5. HEAVY METALS IN ELECTRONICS• E-Waste accounts for 70% of overall toxic waste currently found in landfills (Earth 911, n d).• Most of these materials are found to be carcinogenic which means can cause cancer over time. Some of these are already found in our drinking water just in to small of amount to cause any damage according to drinking water standards.• Portable Electronics have batteries the two main types are Nickel Cadmium, or Lithium Ion. These are carcinogenic and are known to cause lung and liver damage when consumed via water. (Engebretson, 2008)
  6. 6. HEAVY METALS IN ELECTRONICS• It only take a small amount of these materials to become harmful to the drinking water supply, groundwater, or soils in the area.• To remediate these materials can cost millions and it is way more cost effective to stop the problem before it happens.• Lead can be one of the most lethal of all of these materials. It is found in the cathode ray tubes of older Televisions. It is also found in cell phones and computers. A piece of lead the size of a fishing sinker or weight is enough if swallowed to kill an adult trumpeter Swan.
  7. 7. WHERE DOES E-WASTE GO?• When recycled some E-waste is sent to third world countries such as India or China. This is because it is more cost effective but it is not handled properly.• Third world countries have agreements to not import or export hazardous waste but this does not stop some shipments and the E-Waste that is already there.• Gold, silver and Copper are removed using open fires and acid baths. These methods are unsafe for the people and the environment. This causes the locals to live in absorbing these chemicals from the air, soil, and water.
  8. 8. E-WASTE INNOVATION• Since most electronics are made with valuable materials some municipalities (Barrie) are mining their landfills to remove them. not only does this expand the life of the landfill but it also reduces the impact of it. This is because of the removal of harmful materials, and it gives them a chance to improve the lining on the landfill.• With the world demanding a greener tomorrow more E-Waste is now being recycled. E-waste recycling stations are popping up in Communities, Towns, and Schools (Georgian College Barrie Campus, “A” building).
  9. 9. E-WASTE INNOVATION• With growing innovation companies such as Apple have strived to manufacture their electronics to be lead, BFR, PVC, mercury, and arsenic free (Apple, 2012). (Apple, 2012)
  10. 10. WHAT CAN YOU DO?• Be aware that everything you throw out has an impact and learn to divert waste to the proper programs offered.• Increase awareness about these problems before they become a bigger threat.• Be a smart consumer and by electronics that are environmentally friendly. (Levin, 2011)• Dispose of E-waste properly and make sure it is being processed in our country safely.
  11. 11. CONCLUSIONS• Although they are improving, the current and past procedures of handling Electronic waste have had a negative impact on our planet.• Electronics need to be improved so they do not contain harmful materials.• Companies need to decrease the deprecation of their electronics so that they do not get replaced so easily. This will cause less electronics to be manufactured causing less E-Waste. (Levin, 2011)
  12. 12. REFERENCESApple. (2012) The story behind apples carbon footprint. Retrieved from Something. ( n,d.) 11 Facts about E-Waste. Retrieved from 911. (n,d.) E-waste: Harmful Materials. Retrieved from, M. (October, 2008). Electronic Waste. Retrieved from, C. Keilburger, M. (April, 2008) Toxic E-waste pouring into Third World. Retrieved from into-third-worldLevin, H. (June, 2011) Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Recycling and Disposal – Facts, Statistics & Solutions. Retrieved from disposal-facts/Moussan, G. (December, 2009). Effect of Information Technology on the Environment. Retrieved from, R. (2008). Society and technological change (sixth edition). New York: Worth Publishers.