Free «Recycling E-Waste» Essay Sample

Describe the recycling of e-waste in the industrialized and developing worlds

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One of the largest concerns of recycling today is managing electronic waste (McDilda, 2007). This challenge is being faced by both developing and industrialized countries in the world. This is because e-waste includes anything with a battery or a plug and they are available in most parts of the world. McDilda (2007) says that while some of this equipment can be recycled or donated to a charity, much of it is obsolete or broken and they end up been categorized as e-waste.

In developed and industrialized countries they have enacted legislation to address the growing problem of e-waste and e-waste recycling. McDilda (2007) says that “an important concern with recycling of e-waste is that portions of waste that are generated in the United States are now shipped to China and India for recycling” (p.134). However this has huge transportation costs, financially and environmentally, hence these countries become overburdened by waste and citizens rally for stronger environmental laws. In some developed countries some electronic stores will take old materials fro recycling (McDilda, 2007). Most of the developing countries have not yet enacted the policies governing e-waste recycling. As a result most of e-waste products are not recycled and end up in dumping sites or landfills.

The e-waste recycling in industrialized countries like China is becoming a profitable business opportunity in which valuable materials can be recovered and reused as a favorable resource for economic development (Waldmann & Stocker, 2007). After the recycling process has been done studies show that 2.7% of the e-waste is pollutants including hazardous materials such as cadmium, mercury and lead. Waldmann & Stocker (2007) continue to say that in the current e-waste recycling the valuable components and materials of the appliances are extracted by manual disassembly and open incineration, while the remainder is dumped. This has resulted in health problems and deterioration of air, water and land quality.

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Explain the benefits of recycling using costly standards versus no standards at all

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2004) says that benefits of recycling using costly standards presents a major challenge to recycling plants. This is because the collection and transport costs are high because the items are bulky and often they to be transported to log distances hence processing costs are high. Waldmann & Stocker (2007) says that recycling using standards contributes to long term social, environmental as well as financial sustainability. This also implies that meeting the requirements of the regulations means increased cost (Waldmann & Stocker, 2007).

A major benefit of recycling with no standards is that the manufacturers will not have adverse effects that may result from the regulations and this can in turn increase their profit margins (Waldmann & Stocker, 2007). It has also been noted that with no recycling standards in place the net cost of recycling are lower when the products are easier to disassemble. According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2004) effective recycling standards are difficult and costly to design, implement and enforce and therefore this is also reflected in the cost of recycling using standards.

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Discuss how effective we are recycling a particular item, both good and bad

Our effectiveness in the recycling of e-waste is mostly based on if we are in developing or industrialized countries. In industrialized countries e-waste recycling is based on strict policies and this has helped them to advance their recycling standards. In some developed countries communities pay recycling fees to for example preprocessors. This fee provides further evidence on the strict policies put in place and also implies how the effective the countries are in e-waste recycling.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2004) established that the cost of electronic collection and recycling programs suggest that the benefits of such programs need to be high to cover current costs. This in turn will increase our effectiveness of recycling a particular item for example CRTs. For example Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2004) mentioned that the benefits of recycling CRTs fall far short the costs, and therefore this reduces our effectiveness of recycling them. Therefore we should look at several policy options to reduce disposal of CRTs and find out if these options would increase disposal costs and at the same time increase our effectiveness.

Waldmann & Stocker concluded that recycling of e-waste can provide solutions to both problems and help in building a resource-efficient and environmentally friendly society (2007). Waldmann & Stocker (2007) continue to say that based on the analysis of the e-waste recycling industry a financially viable and environmentally sound e-waste recycling system should be designed and implemented. This will in turn reduce the effects of e-waste in the air, land and water hence making a good environment for both man and other creatures.

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