After our electronics reach end-of-life or break, where do they go? While some of these are reused or recycled responsibly, most of our e-waste ends up in landfills, incinerators, and villages around the globe. There has been a primary focus on commercial IT waste standards, along with numerous municipalities in the US that push for local electronic waste disposal. We also can’t forget about all of the other household items that are typically thrown away after becoming obsolete – dishwashers, washers/dryers, microwaves, televisions. While Boston e-Cycle does not take care of particular household appliances at this time, we are planning to work with other responsible recyclers in the New England area to make it easy to dispose of these items (and give you some peace of mind in doing so).
One major town in China that has taken a lot of US exported e-waste is Guiyu. Most of the inhabitants here have their own businesses that dismantle used electronics to extract valuable materials (such as gold, lead, and copper). It’s very scary to learn that multiple dust samples taken throughout the town’s environment contained unsafe amounts lead, as much as 50 times the amount that is considered “safe”.
With a bit of effort from everybody, we can help to reduce the amount of electronic waste that’s thrown away and sent off to towns like Guiyu. As our older commercial electronics continue to be disposed of, hopefully we can prevent the mass amount of improper disposal of this older equipment.