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 user 2005-02-27 at 9:47:00 am Views: 47
  • #10565

    3,500 remanufacturing companies,37,771 tons of waste is
    kept out of landfills due to the remanufacturing of toner

    In the United States alone,our industry represents approximately 3,500
    remanufacturing companies, which employ at least 33,000 people. Each year
    roughly 37,771 tons of waste is kept out of landfills due to the remanufacturing
    of toner cartridges.

    In addition to saving customers money, remanufacuring creates jobs, reduces
    waste, and, according to the EPA, is the highest form of recycling as it
    requires the least amount of energy to make a product ready for reuse.

    Exported e-waste results in “environmental wasteland”

    A group of villages in Southern China have become inadvertent repositories of
    the West’s hazardous computer waste, according to a report by environmental
    group Basel Action Network (BAN), based in Seattle, US.

    Jim Puckett, BAN’s director, describes the area as an “environmental
    wasteland,” where pollutant levels are hundreds to thousands of times higher
    than those allowed in developed countries. “The ground is saturated in lead and
    acid by-products,” he says. “Many of the poorer villagers still drink the
    surface waters, which are highly contaminated.”

    The villages are located on the outskirts of Guiyu, a town in Guongdong
    province near Hong Kong. On a three-day tour of the area in December 2001,
    Puckett and colleagues from Greenpeace China observed trucks loaded with
    electronic wastes arriving by the hundreds from the nearby port town of Nanhai.

    The local economy around Guiyu appears wholly dependent on recycling imported
    electronic scrap, says Puckett. These activities apparently take place without
    health or environmental controls, he adds.

    Toxic fumes

    The BAN report contains among the most graphic descriptions of the fate of
    E-waste exported to developing countries yet obtained. In one example, women and
    girls were seen soaking circuit boards in molten lead solder to loosen and
    remove computer chips for resale.

    The lead is heated in woks over hot coals, a procedure that volatilizes the
    metal and releases it to the air as toxic fumes. After the chips are separated,
    Puckett says, the lead is simply poured onto the ground. Lead is among the most
    potent neurological toxins known, particularly to children and developing

    Experts say the rapid obsolescence of computers, combined with limited
    domestic recycling infrastructures in the West, contribute to the growing
    problem of E-waste exports to developing nations.

    Robin Ingenthron, president of the consulting firm American Retrowork Inc,
    and former recycling director for the state of Massachusetts, estimates that 100
    shipping containers of used electronics – roughly 225 tonnes – are exported
    weekly from the United States alone.

    Benefit to countries

    While imports of used, functional electronics do benefit developing
    countries, he says, the shipments are often accompanied by tonnes of unusable
    scrap. “And unfortunately, a lot of this material winds up in countries where
    environmental recycling and disposal standards are either non-existent or
    ignored,” he says.

    Finding ways to increase domestic recycling is at the top of the list of
    potential solutions to the problem, Ingenthron says.

    Puckett’s group has for years promoted the Basel Convention – an
    international treaty to limit trade in hazardous wastes that was brokered by the
    United Nations in Basel, Switzerland in 1989.