The problem starts with the modern world’s infatuation with all things electronic. The buying binge of computers through the 1990s, for instance, is contributing to an e-waste mess in the first decade of the 21st century. Electronic goods including PCs and TVs are the fastest-growing portion of the waste stream in the United States, accounting for 2 million tons of trash annually, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Residents of California alone have stockpiled more than 6 million obsolete monitors and TV sets in their homes, according to the state’s Integrated Waste Management Board. That agency also foresees a worrisome gap between the volume of discarded CRT monitors and the state’s capacity for processing them. E-waste has raised a red flag for public health officials because electronic devices use a variety of potentially toxic materials such as mercury, cadmium and especially lead, which they don’t want to see leaching into groundwater from landfills or getting airborne via incinerator smokestacks. Environmentalists earlier this year called attention to what they called the ” high-tech trashing” of several Asian countries. What price recycling? Electronics makers are in no hurry to see state governments tacking costs onto the products they’re trying to sell,… Read full this story
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