Analyse At Least Two Recently Proposed Solutions To The Problem Of E Waste In Order To Determine Which Is The Most Effective

1338 words - 5 pages

The XXI century is generally defined as the era of modern Information Technology (IT). In recent decades there has been a big step forward to the advanced technology and innovations. Everyday electronic equipment becomes obsolete because of an enormous stream of new and upgraded ones. It is an unstoppable process termed as progress, when new gadgets evolve and develop, old electronic appliances become useless and out of date. However, as modern technology develops and extends the amount of obsolete and discarded electronic equipment also known as e-waste (e-scrap) increases. According to BBC, today electronic waste shows the highest growing trend in the world, (15.11.2010) it is estimated that there is approximately 53 million tonnes of e-waste worldwide. Moreover, because it consists of many different things, including hazardous substances and valuable elements, e-waste cannot be easily disposed of and it should be recycled in a proper way. However, it is mostly disposed of in landfills and incinerators, which results in environment and health problems. To prevent contamination and pollution some developed countries export their e-waste to developing countries, which regard e-waste as the source of valuable elements, but not as the potentional issues with people health and pollution. Taking all this into account a pressing question begins to appear: “What should be done to tackle this challenge of electronic waste?”
One good response to this question may be recycle and reuse. Obsolete electronic devices can be reused, which means continued use of them or their components in the way they are produced for after their collection in specific centres (stated in WEEE Directive). These electronic appliances collected by the different facilities, centres, or manufacturers can be reused by people or organizations that cannot afford this kind of equipment. It also reduces the amount of e-waste, because people do not just throw it away, they donate it for reuse (Chancerel 2009, 39). On the other hand, reused electronic appliances use more electricity than new ones, and after some time it probably becomes waste. Some companies can also export e-waste for “reusing” to developing countries but, in reality, the aim will be to dispose of it. If electronic equipment is not reusable there is an alternative solution to recycle it. According to Schluep et al. this process typically consists of several types: collection, pre-processing, and end-processing. Initially, e-scrap is collected in the fixed places depending on type of electronic equipment. The next step is pre-processing, which includes sorting, dismantling and mechanical treatment. At this stage devices are dismantled according to their final destination and hazardous substances are removed. The last stage is the end-processing, when valuable elements and constituents are extracted from e-scrap (Schluep, M et al. 2009). One advantage of recycling is minimum impact on the environment, it can be...

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