Last month’s National Geographic had a disturbing story titled, “High-Tech Trash.” It was all about the tremendous amount of “e-waste” that the technology revolution has generated. Televisions, monitors, computer CPU’s, and mobile telephones are among the huge offenders. Developed countries, like the United States, are exporting this waste to the developing (third) world. These items are loaded with hazardous materials. Ironically, these electronic tools are prized for their productivity and entertainment value, despite the toxins contained within their housings. The photos of people in India, Africa, China, and elsewhere, show people, including children, burning electronics to remove the valuable (though toxic) raw materials. It is just plain wrong that many of designers/manufacturers of this stuff have failed to provision for the time when this electronic gear is obsolete.  Hopefully, this new wave of thinking around product design will include more recycling. Designers and manufacturers should think about where their products go when used up. Two simple yet necessary products come to mind when I think of this: 1) Batteries 2) Light Bulbs. We put way too many of these items into landfills. For the most part, people are oblivious to the recycling opportunities available to them. Admittedly, we struggle with this at Horst Engineering. With regard to our products, which are mostly made from metals, we have to learn more about where they go when our customers and their customers have used them up. Within our plant, it is hard to get through to people and convince them that recycling is effortless and makes sense. Our waste paper products bins, plastic bins, metal bins, and other trash are all brightly labeled and people still mix the items. Is it out of ignorance? They aren’t even thinking about the consequences. I guess there must be nothing in it for them, and that’s the problem. You need to care about the Earth if you are going to make a conscious effort to recycle. We need to do more at Horst Engineering and the world needs to do more too.

1 Response to “E-Waste”

  1. 1 Guerrillero 5 February 2008 at 10:52 am

    Absolutely true: piles of wastes end up in small Asian counties, where they are supposed to be worked and recycled. Even if the recycling is fully fledged, over 10-15% of unrecycled things are dumped in the wild.

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