E-Waste: Out of Our Sight, Into Their Air


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By April Fang

Ever wondered where your used electronics go? Or maybe you just think, “I paid my recycling fee, so they must have been recycled in a proper way.”

As a matter of fact, most e-waste from all over the world is shipped to third-world countries such as China. In Nanyang, China people dismantle e-waste in their homes or on the street rather than in a factory. The toxic smoke from incinerating e-waste causes serious health effects, including high lead concentration residents’ blood and lower IQs among children born in the area.

Here are little things we can do to make a difference:

  • Buy reusable batteries rather than disposable ones;
  • Upgrade hardware computers rather than throw them away;
  • Recycle batteries properly. Often public libraries have information about local places to recycle batteries and other hazardous waste. Some chains that typically collect batteries to recycle include Best Buy and Staples; and
  • Recycle your cellphone by donating it. Sprint will allow you to send in any cell phone for free if you pick up a postage-paid envelope from one of their stores, or print out the mailing label online. You can also search for a local cell phone recycling program using ReCellular‘s Web site.

Spread the word about these simple practices and how they can help mitigate e-waste’s harm to the environment and to human health.

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