Electronic waste exports monitored
Last November, CBS’s 60 Minutes opened millions of eyes and minds to the problem of a Denver recycling company exporting container loads of whole electronic goods to the town of Guiyu in southern China, where primitive recycling was graphically shown to cause serious health and environmental hazards. While it sensationalized the unscrupulous practices of one exporter and the frightening dangers of primitive recycling techniques, it also gave a black eye to the American electronic recycling industry. It also failed to mention that China has some of the world’s most innovative, sophisticated recycling parks located throughout the country.
For example, Chinese scientists recently developed a way to recycle printed circuit boards into a strong material to make park benches and fences. Circuit boards account for approximately three percent of the weight of all electronic waste. Current recycling methods primarily recover only metals, while resins account for 70 percent of the circuit boards that currently go to incineration or landfills. ...read more
FOCUS on ELECTRONICS
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Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) have been around since the dawn of television. They managed to smoothly transition to computers as monitors, and to date, billions of CRTs have been manufactured. However, they are now being rapidly supplanted by flat-screen liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and plasmas. The latest generation CRTs offer superb image quality, but they are big, heavy and deep, because the larger the screen size, the longer the tube.
The fall of the CRT has also been affected by the transition from analog to digital broadcasting that has sped the sale of DTV-ready LCDs. As a result, tens of millions of old television and computer monitors need to be handled – not go into landfills and not be exported as whole units to countries where unsound practices expose workers and the environment to toxic substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and PCBs. Depending on screen size, a CRT can contain several pounds of lead and interior phosphor coatings sealed in a vacuum tube. ...read more