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Disposal of e-waste and its impacts on the ecosystem

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Disposal of e-waste and its impacts on the ecosystem
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Disposal of E-Waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem by Meaghan Owens
An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Honors Program
May 2015
Dr. Shamin Ahsan
Dr. Andrew Evans
Dr. Megan Hughes-Zarzo
Primary Advisor
Second Reader
Honors Program Director


Disposal of E-Waste and Its Impacts on the ________Ecosystem__________________
Honors Undergraduate Thesis
Meaghan Owens
Spring 2015


Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
Table of Contents
Abstract...............................................................2
I. Introduction........................................................2
II. Development and Analysis of the E-Waste Problem.....................7
I. Background........................................................7
II. Economics of E-Waste.............................................10
hi. E-Waste in the United States.....................................13
iv. Impacts of E-Waste on the Ecosystem..............................16
a. The Environment.................................................16
b. Human Health....................................................20
v. E-Waste Management...............................................24
a. United States...................................................24
b. European Union (EU).............................................28
c. China...........................................................34
III. Sustainable Solutions............................................42
IV. Conclusions......................................................45
V. Works Cited........................................................47
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem Abstract
One of the major global environmental issues is concomitant with the disposal of wastes. Among several types of wastes electronic waste are considered the one of fastest growing.
Recent studies estimated that in 2012 global generation of e-waste totaled 45.6 million metric tons. Some study also report projected that by 2017 global e-waste will increase a further 33% from 49.7 million to 65.4 million tons per annum. Due to unrestrained rise in e-waste production and disposals practices, the global community is trying to shape up various regulatory apparatus to contain environmental and ecosystem impacts. It is believed that large volume of e-wastes is legally and illegally traded to least developed countries. Informal and formal recycling practices in developing countries are key center of attention. Most of the recent scientific studies are primarily focusing on connections of inappropriate handling and health effects of workers in developing nations. Significant number of studies also laid emphasis on degradation of ecosystem health. Many researchers see an imminent concern of global tragedy, if appropriate measures are not taken. These study reports and experts views warrants that producing developed nations to consider developing an effective plan for collection, disposal, and remedy of e-waste.
Key Words: Electronic Waste, E-waste, impacts, disposal, management, heavy metals
I. Introduction
Electronic waste consists of white goods and brown goods. White goods are the larger appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves. Brown goods are the smaller items such as televisions, radios and computers. The disposal of electronic devices has begun to cause because of the volume that is being created each year. Electronic waste is only considered disposed when the electronic device is going into the trash or is being recycled. It does not include e-waste products that are not being used anymore but are stored in homes and offices (EPA, 2011).
E-waste mainly consists of discarded appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves as well as old computers, radios, televisions and cell phones which contain plastics, glass, and precious metals. Once these devices become outdated or broken, they get disposed of by going to landfills or recycling plants. Most of the time, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the electronic waste is put into landfills with only twenty-
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem seven percent of all e-waste being recycled (EPA, 2011). The seventy-three percent of the electronics that get disposed of in the United States go into landfills or incinerators where the heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, and copper can seep out into the ground through the leachate (rainwater that has percolated through the landfill). Landfills are created to prevent leachate seeping into the ground by adding a device that catches it and returns it to the surface where the contaminated water can be treated and then put back into the environment. Old televisions and computers used cathode ray tubes that contain between four to eight pounds of lead, or newer computers and televisions that use mercury lamps can create a hazardous environment if those heavy metals and plastics go through incinerators or seep through the landfill linings (Jaragh and Boushahri, 2009). Incineration results in both toxic solid and gaseous waste products and the ash and smoke become toxic. Once enough ash has been collected, it will get deposited into a landfill where the creation of leachate can become a concern (EPA, 2014).
Twenty-seven percent of e-waste is recycled while the rest of the e-waste is typically shipped, illegally, to poorer countries to recycle and reuse. Some of the waste that had been recycled in the United States will also get shipped overseas, making the amount of e-waste being shipped to other countries around 80% of all the waste that is collected (Robinson, 2009). The two major countries that import the to-be recycled e-waste are China and India, which are known for using primitive e-waste recycling methods. Primitive or informal e-waste recycling methods are defined as the methods that do not use proper infrastructure or safety precautions when burning or dismantling an electronic device. Because primitive e-waste recycling methods lack equipment, it can be extremely hazardous because these methods can release heavy metals into the environment harming the ecosystem and human health around the e-waste recycling areas. (Electronic Waste, 2015). The release of mercury or lead into the environment at high levels can
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem become ingested or inhaled and then cause neurological damage, especially at the young age or in the fetus and infant development period (EPA, 2010). The release of high levels of cadmium from primitive e-waste process can cause respiratory, cardiovascular, renal, and skeletal effects in humans and other animals living in the areas nearby (EPA, 2014).
This contamination into the ecosystem occurs most often when methods of disposing e-waste are primitive. Guiyu, China and the methods that town uses result in the majority of its citizens becoming ill and experience side effects of chronic exposure to these heavy, and toxic, metals. In developing countries uncontrolled dumpsites also create hazards for the environment and human health since the dumps are often left unmonitored, open and unsecure (UNEP, 2011). However, despite the harm that the disposal of e-waste can create, it is still an enormous part of a developing countrys economy, especially in the rural areas. Because of globalization, China has been able to gain a strong GDP by importing e-waste and building, creating and supporting their infrastructure for e-waste. With the increasing dependence on technology and electronic devices it is impossible to escape the inevitable enormous quantities of e-waste that are being created currently and will be created in the future. As such, proper disposal of e-waste is imperative to the health of the ecosystem, including the environment and human health (Joines, 2012).
Internationally, there have been many ways countries have tried to control the disposal of electronic waste. In the European Union, there are two major legislative pieces that require the safe disposal of e-waste. They are called Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). This has set the international stage for proper e-waste disposal and China is also following in the European Unions footsteps, hoping to have the restrictions and technology for recycling put into place by 2020. To catch up with the rest of the developed world, the United States needs to also implement similar restrictions on their
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem electronic equipment and offer more incentives for the producers and consumers to recycle and dispose of their e-waste properly.
To date, the United States has left the management, collection and regulations up to the states and the consumers to recycle. The Environmental Protection Agency has instead been tasked to encourage citizens to recycle their electronic equipment out of social conscience. Recycling e-waste still remains completely voluntary. The National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship was created combining the efforts of the white house, the EPA and the General services Administration. To curb the mismanagement of e-waste, the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (2011) wants to build incentives to build greener and less hazardous products, promote take-back programs with the companies that sell electronics, and establish a trade flow that complies with the Basel Convention trans-boundary regulations for hazardous waste. The proper management of electronic waste problem is a massive problem that needs to be regulated and monitored through the cradle-to-grave. Cradle-to-grave is stated in the hazardous waste regulations the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) where hazardous waste is monitored from when it first produced to when it gets disposed of (Hazardous Waste Regulations, 2015).
Consumerism and the need for new electronics every time a new model comes out needs to be discouraged and management practices need to be established to achieve a sustainable and safe way to dispose of e-waste. To decrease consumerism, it is essential to change the mentality of the citizens. This would include, but not be limited to, changing how people perceive electronics (i.e. changing the value of the electronic device mentally) and changing the stigma that the electronic device needs to be exchanged for a newer model every few years. By
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem decreasing consumerism, it would decrease the demand for electronics and then in extension, decrease the disposal of electronics.
The purpose of this paper is to examine and critique the way electronic waste is disposed of and managed after it has left the consumers sight. Specifically, this paper looks at how electronic waste is managed in three different countries (the United States, China and the European Union) and assessment of the different laws and legislation that have been put into place. This paper will also look at how the improper and primitive e-waste recycling in the developing countries can impact the ecosystem in ways of health and the environment from various studies conducted at the e-waste recycling sites.
The paper will conclude with sustainable solutions for the e-waste problems. The solutions include combined efforts from governments, consumers, and companies in the electronic industry. The governments from developing countries and developed countries both need to begin to create infrastructure and legislation that will curb improper e-waste disposal. The companies can aid this effort by encouraging electronic waste recycling. They can also help the e-waste problem by boosting the longevity of the electronic product by making the product last longer before it breaks and by helping to create a product that is desirable for a longer period of time. Lastly, the consumer can become educated on the e-waste complication. Society and the consumerism culture need to become less wasteful in their purchases of electronics so that the demand of electronics is not so large.
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem II. Development and Analysis of the E-Waste Problem
i. Background
Electronic waste, or e-waste for short, is a quickly growing stream of municipal waste in the United States. As the reliance and need for newer and more innovative technology continues to draw in consumers, the more e-waste gets created. Electronic waste also gets thrown out due to perceived obsolescence and planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence happens when the manufacturers purposefully create the electronic device to break down or be obsolete within a set amount of time with parts that break easily.
A percentage of the e-waste does not get disposed of and sits inside, unused, in homes and offices. The seventy-five percent of e-waste that does get disposed of can either be recycled or it can be trashed into landfills or incinerators. Figure 1 shows the relationship between the
Figure 1. EPA data from "Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States, 2012"
E-Waste Generation and Recycling 2000-2012
Tons of E-waste
4.000. 000
3.500.000
3.000. 000
2.500.000
2.000. 000
1.500.000 1,000,000
500,000 0
2000 2005 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012
Total e waste generated 1,900,000 2,630,000 3,010,000 3,190,000 3,320,000 3,410,000 3,420,000
E-waste trashed 1,710,000 2,270,000 2,460,000 2,590,000 2,670,000 2,560,000 2,420,000
E-waste recycled 190,000 360,000 550,000 600,000 650,000 850,000 1,000,000
Percent Recycled 10.0% 13.7% 18.3% 18.8% 19.6% 24.9% 29.20%
EPAFeb 2014.
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem trashed e-waste and the recycled e-waste from EPA data in 2012. For cell phones, EPA (2011) estimates that roughly twenty percent of mobile phones are kept in storage after usage instead of being recycled or thrown away. That type of waste includes refrigerators, computers, televisions, radios and mobile phones. Electronics need to have a flow of energy in order to work. To get that flow of energy, circuit boards are created with conductors, insulators and semi-conductors. The conductors are in the circuit boards to allow electricity to run through the device, insulators are made from glass and plastics and they keep the circuit from shorting out or getting too hot, and semi-conductors are used to keep the current of electricity going but at a slower rate. The metals used for semiconductors are silicon and germanium. The best conductors use metals like steel, copper or aluminum to allow energy to pass through easily (Basic knowledge of Electronic Parts). Lead is also good for being able to send signal from electronics because it is good for solder on circuit boards (Black, 2005). In addition to having circuits for electricity, some of the older electronics, like televisions, use cathode ray tubes which can project different colors. Because they are so easy to make, they can be mass produced fast and have been around for more than seventy years. They are no longer made anymore as they have been replaced with mercury lamps (Gassier, 2012). Out of all the metals used in electronics, cadmium and lead are by far the most toxic. Cadmium is very toxic because it can easily penetrate into plants and agricultural crops that can be consumed. Lead is extremely toxic because it has a long residence time and can climb up the food chain easily and remain there. Mercury is a used in electronics as a lighting device to help illuminate flat screens. If released into the environment, mercury can be converted into methyl mercury which can interfere and damage the development of fetuses (Greenpeace).
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
To determine the approximate amount of how much waste of a certain item is created, Robinson (2009) uses the formula E=MN/L where M is the mass of the item, N is the number of units in service and L is the average lifespan of the item. This equation can be used to estimate how long people own their devices. The author suggests that smaller items get replaced faster than larger items (e.g. an air conditioning unit is expected to last twelve years and it weights 55kg while a cell phone weight. 1kg and gets replaced every two years). In addition to correlating the weight of a device to how long it is in use, Robinson also correlates the global production as a function of that countrys Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As a country starts to get more income and have more money, the per capita use of computer and electronics also grows, thus allowing the disposal of electrical waste to increase as well (Robinson, 2009).
There are a few ways electronic waste can be disposed. There is informal or primitive recycling and there is formal e-waste recycling. In the European Union and 182 other countries, e-waste is considered a hazardous waste which means that countries need to give and receive permission to export and import hazardous wastes into other another countrys borders. This agreement to monitor and regulate the harmful substances as called the Basel Convention on the Control of the Trans-Boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal was established. Countries that signed onto this acknowledged that these items carried high toxicity rates when burned or recycled due to their composition and thus developed a framework for controls on the trans-boundary movement of such waste (Widmer et al., 2005). The United States signed but did not ratify the Basel Convention. The majority of the United States electronic waste is sent to developing countries like China or India, legally because the Basel Convention has not been ratified, where they dispose of the electronic waste using primitive or informal methods, impacting the citizens health and the environment. Approximately 10.2
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem million units of computers were exported annually from the United States to developing countries, including China, India and Pakistan (Wong et al., 2007). The United States often ships the majority of its e-waste to landfills or incinerators. As e-waste continues to grow, it will be important in the coming years to have firm rules and solutions to control the disposal of e-waste.
ii. Economics of E-Waste
According to the United Nations Environment Program (2011), a total of 11.2 billion tons of solid waste are collected each year. E-waste is set to grow exponentially over the next few years with the developing countries,
India, China South America and Africa, making up the bulk of the electronic sales as they catch up with the developed countries.
As economies strengthen, so do electronic sales (Figure 2).
In 2014, consumers worldwide spent $244 billion US dollars on electronics like computers, and mobiles. In 2015, the expected buying trend for global devices (PCs, tablets, and mobile phones) shipments is to grow 2.8% to 2.5 billion units. Specifically, the mobile phone market is projected to grow 3.5% on the global scale to 1.9 billion units (Van Der Meulen Gartner, 2015). This means as there is more production and sales of electronic devices, there is more waste. Perceived obsolesce and planned obsolesce are also very important to acknowledge when discussing e-waste because not only does it change the economy, it also creates addition, unnecessary waste. Perceived obsolescence
Figure 2. Number of personal computers per 100 people as a function of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
(Robinson, 2009)
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem is where the appeal of the electronic device changes and so the device gets thrown out because it lost its desirability even if it is fully functional. Manufacturers purposefully enact planned obsolescence because it causes a shorter lifespan of their products than the normal lifespan and raises the demand for the product. This causes faster replacement for electronics. For example, radios were once designed to only last three years. Planned obsolesce can also come in the form of limited repair or cost of repair, which is when the repair for the electronic has a similar price to just getting a new one. Faster replacement of an electronic can also come in the form of upgraded, function enhancement or new design aesthetics to the electronic. This is enhanced when cell phone companies offer cell phone upgrades every two years to keep the appeal of their company to the customers. This leads to people unnecessarily upgrading the cell phones and discarding the electronic devices into the e-waste stream (Guiltinan, 2009). In 2014, a survey was conducted to examine what kind of e-waste went to developing countries and it was found that roughly less than 95% of cell phones, televisions, digital cameras, and laptops were not second-hand. Most of the electronic devices that had been discarded could have had a longer lifespan, especially the consumer electronics since they were being replaced every couple of years unlike the larger appliances that got changed out roughly every eight years (Chi et al., 2014).
China specifically uses e-waste to boost its economy by breaking down the electronics and taking out the raw material which is then re-circulated and reused rather than recycled (Veenstra, 2010). Globally, China
creates the second largest volume of e-waste. In 2001, the country only produced 32.99 million units and in
Figure 3. Urbanization rate in China with GDP/cap, WEEE/cap
GDP/cap
urbanization rate WEEE/cap
g 1.50 1.00 0.50
11
0.00
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Year


Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 2012, the number jumped to 229.66 million units. According to the United Nations, China is expected to produce 7 times more mobile phone e-waste in 2020 compared to 2007. Figure 3 shows the relationship between Chinas GDP per capita, urbanization rate and e-waste generated from 2001 to 2012. The e-waste comes from households, institutions, or from equipment manufacturers (Lu et al., 2015).
E-waste parts are highly sought after, especially cell phones, calculators, and circuit boards where the precious metals make up 70% of the devices value (Cui and Zang, 2008). The metal that is recovered can be resold at different prices depending on which metal it is. For example, in desktops, lead, which is one of the main metals found in electronic waste, can be sold at $1.70 to $3.80 for 620-1373 grams. The aluminum found in electronics is usually around 680-960 grams which can be recovered and sold at $2.00 to $2.80 while copper can go from anywhere between $12.00-$22.00 for 1370-2640 grams in a desktop. Platinum in the desktop can go for $4.30 for only .066 grams. Getting the valuable metals from electronics can become very profitable, especially in poorer areas of the world that do not have a lot of revenue or income. Dismantling the electronic devices becomes a quick and easy way to get money, despite the concerns that it could have on public health or the environment. It is estimated that the sales from computers in the United States is roughly $90 billion and recycling the machines is roughly .3% of the market $270 million. In a developing country, one CRT computer can bring in $50 which is significant amount of money for those households (Williams et al., 2008). There is an open market for recycling e-waste and that market seems to be primarily in developing countries where unwanted electronic items or their parts can get recycled and reused and the citizens of the countries can profit from it. Developing countries try and use whatever they can to boost their economies. This includes recycling e-waste for whatever little profit they can get because they
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem can dismantle the electronic devices relatively cheaply. China, specifically, their economic policy since 1977 has been [economic] growth at any cost, including health costs. Recently in China, there has also been a trend of job loss in the agricultural fields as more and more people are finding that they cannot feed their families on a farmers salary. This means that more people in China are beginning to rely on other ways to get money, including recovering e-wastes precious metals (Joines, 2012).
The transfer of electronic goods from developed countries to developing countries was studied by Breivik et al. (2014). The study was to examine the references of other data and try to see how close the previous studies from 2005 have estimated the amount of e-waste being exported from OECD countries to non-OECD countries. The amount, after looking at many different studies from Guiya, China to Taizhou, China to Qingyuan, China, is around 4,900kt/year. Total, for all non-OECD countries has been estimated at roughly 5,023kt/year.
The economics of e-waste are complicated but what is certain is that developed countries produce the most amount of e-waste and then developing countries import the e-waste from developed countries to try and make some money to increase their economies.
iii. E-Waste in the United States
In the United States, e-waste is treated as municipal solid waste and can be thrown into landfills or be incinerated. Sixty-nine percent of that municipal waste is sent to landfills while seven percent of the waste created was sent to incinerators and the remaining twenty-four percent of the waste was recycled. Municipal waste can cause air, water and soil pollution, emit greenhouse gases and cause health effects from being put into landfills or incinerators (Austin, 2013). These effects are even more prominent when disposing of electronic waste because of the
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem heavy metals, specifically leader and copper, and plastics, which can release toxic chemicals when burned or incinerated, contained inside. Over the past few years, there has been a shift in products being sold. Before, more cathode ray tube televisions were being sold, and now the televisions sold are flat-panel televisions, which have transition from using more lead to using more mercury. There is also a shift from computer monitors that use cathode ray tubes to computers monitors that are flat. Cell phones are fairly recent in the sales for technology starting to pick up sales in 2000however, the EPA has state that there is a tremendous amount of opportunities to collect mobile phones. The EPA also concludes that Americans store a great deal of electronics that they do not want in their storage spaces like basements or garages (EPA,
Table 1. E-Waste by the Ton in 2010 E-Waste bv the Ton in 2010 -Trashed or Recycled
Total Disposed ** (tons) Trashed (tons) Recycled (tons) Recycling rate (%)
Computers 423,000 255,000 168,00 40%
Monitors 595,000 401,000 194,000 33%
Hard Copy Devices 290,000 193,00 97.000 33%
Keyboards and Mice 67,800 61.400 6,460 10%
Televisions 1,040 864,000 181,000 17%
Mobile Devices 19,500 17,200 2,240 11%
TV peripherals* Not included Not included Not included Not included
Total (in tons) 2.440.000 1.790,000 649.000 27%
(EPA Study, 2010)
2011). In 2010, according to the EPA report released in 2010, almost half of the e-waste that gets disposed is computers and monitors. Table 1 shows that computers made up 17% of total e-waste disposal with 423,000 tons and monitors made up 24% of total disposed e-waste with 595,000 tons disposed. In addition, both devices had a recycling rate of less than 50%. In total for 2010, only 649,000 tons of e-waste were recycled, which consisted of only 27%. TV
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem peripherals, such as VCRs, DVD players, cable and satellite receivers, converter boxes and game consoles were not included in this study (EPA, 2010).
When e-waste is recycled, according to the EPA (2010), 1 million cell phones can recover roughly 501bs of gold, 5501bs of silver, and 201bs of platinum. In addition, one ton of mobile phones can retrieve up to $15,000 in precious metals including, but not limited to, silver, gold, palladium, and copper, and when recycling cell phones, reclaiming the aluminum can save 90% of the energy needed to mine for new aluminum. Developed countries, the ones that create the most amount of e-waste do not recover these metals because it is considered expensive. Instead, the developed countries send the electronic devices to developing countries where the disassembly of e-waste is much cheaper (Joines, 2012).
Wealthy countries create and export more electronic waste than poorer countries, who are usually the receivers of the hazardous waste as wealthy countries send their electronic waste. To curb the wealthy countries and their waste disposal to poorer countries, the Basel Convention was created through the United Nations in 1989 and put into practice in 1992 (UNEP, 2011). The Basel Convention is composed of 170 countries that have all signed and agreed to monitor their toxic waste and its disposal as it crosses over international borders. The Basel Convention ensures that the country disposing of its hazardous waste, including electronic waste, is given authorization by the country receiving the waste so that no illegal dumping occurs. In addition, the Basel Convention makes countries responsible for disposing of their hazardous waste in the most environmentally friendly way. The United States has signed but not ratified this convention and is thus exempt from the governing laws. This has allowed the United States to ship its electronic waste over to developing nations, commonly China or India, to be recycled or disposed of (UNEP, 2011).
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
The raging growth of technology and need for newer and more advanced electronics, has made the stream of e-waste become more rampant and prevalent than ever before. E-waste is the fastest growing stream of waste because the global market for PCs is far from saturation and the average lifespan of a PC is rapidly decreasing for instance for CPUs from 4-6 years in 1997 to 2 years in 2005. In 2009, the United States alone created 2.37 million short tons of waste, according to the EPA, with roughly 38% of all e-waste collected being computers. 500 million PCs contain approximately 2,872,000 tonnes of plastics, 718,000 tonnes of lead, 1363 tonnes of cadmium and 287 tonnes of mercury. These heavy metals cause enormous health problems in the environment and to human health (Widmer et al., 2005).
iv. Impacts of E-Waste on the Ecosystem a. The Environment
As the e-waste disposal grows, it is important to look at the effects e-waste recycling has on the environment. Specifically, it is important to look at the environment and how primitive and informal e-waste recycling affects it because the methods used for melting, cutting, and dismantling of the e-waste usually takes place in the open and there is more of a possibility for transportation of heavy metals into the soil, water and biota. Lead (Pb), copper (Cu), and cadmium (Cd) are the three main heavy metals that are the most concern because they persist in the environment for a long time. They are also most likely to be found in plants or in paddy fields due to atmospheric deposition (Luo et al., 2011).
India, as a developing country with a rapidly growing GDP also imports large volumes of electronic waste to recycle and extract parts from the United States. The country lacks infrastructure and resources to properly extract heavy metals. They rely on mostly informal and primitive e-waste recycling methods that can impact the environment. In addition, India has their
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem own e-waste that is growing and the countrys citizens begin to buy newer technologies and dispose of their old ones. Heavy metals that are released from the primitive e-waste methods are likely to seep into the ground and contaminate the soil and water. The heavy metals can also go into the atmosphere when primitive e-waste recycling methods are used. Plants can then take up the heavy metals; this is especially dangerous for humans if the plants that take in the heavy metals are agricultural crops that are consumed.
In India, Delhi is a known city where e-waste recycling takes place, specifically the Mandoli region. A study was conducted in the North-East of Delhi, India where five sites were chosen. From those five sites, soil, plant, and water samples were taken and examined. The results shows that from the five sites, it was common to have heavy metal levels in the soil to be extremely high with silver, cadmium, copper, lead, selenium and zinc. Figure 4 refers to the levels of heavy metals in each site from the study conducted in India. The plant samples that had
Figure 4. A graph of the five sites in Delhi, India and the heavy metal concentrations for each site
1 1 a L J ... .1 | |
T 1 1 IT 'l '"|' 'l "I'
Sampling sites
Ag lAI a As nCd a Co aCu aCr aFc Hg aNi aPb aSc Zn
(Pradhan and Kumar, 2014)
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem also been taken were put through analysis showing that there was a difference in the biology of the plants that were situated closer to the e-waste recycling centers.
The data shows that plants were not affected by the arsenic, chromium or selenium too much, but were affected by the other heavy metals. Plants can absorb the heavy metals through the roots of the plants and through the atmospheric deposition. It was shown that the underlying factor in the level of heavy metals in the plants were related distinctly with the level of heavy metals in the soil suggesting that the informal e-waste recycling methods did have an impact on the plants and their heavy metal levels. In the water samples, it was found that the water was acidic and that the heavy metals in the soils were leaching and contaminating groundwater. The water tested had levels of arsenic (17.08mg/kg), copper (115.5 mg/kg), lead (2,645.3 lmg/kg), and cadmium (1.29mg/kg) that were all extremely highmuch higher than the World Health Organizations safe drinking water limits. As there is already a scarcity of fresh water in the area, this will cause problems for water resources. All three of the sample types (e.g. soil, water and plant) showed that there is a difference between the samples of residential communities and primitive e-waste recycling communities (Pradhan and Kumar, 2014).
The large amounts of heavy metal pollution can have a negative impact on the environment. E-waste recycling towns generally border agricultural sites where the heavy metals in the soil can be absorbed by the crops because the towns that disassemble the electronic goods either make their own food or were primarily agricultural places before they started disassembling e-waste (Joines, 2012). Levels of heavy metals (e.g. lead, cadmium, polybrominated biphenyls, PBDs, and PCBs) can leach into the crops and increase the risk of contamination of the heavy metals traveling to the consumer. The Guangdong province of south China engages in primitive e-waste recycling with agricultural fields directly adjacent to the e-
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem waste recycling processes. Their agriculture includes rice, vegetables, and raising fish to eat in the river nearby. Five samples were taken from an open e-waste incineration cite, a vegetable garden, a paddy field, an area of deserted soil, and a pond area. The samples showed that cadmium, lead, copper and zinc were prevalent although cadmium and copper were the only two that had levels higher than regulation standards. The pH of the pond was less than 5.5 and at some points in the pond, less than 4.5. The plants that were screened showed that copper, lead, and zinc showed up in the majority of the wild plants, but cadmium showed up the most often in domestic, vegetable stems. Plants that have broad leaves are more likely to absorb more of the heavy metals due to atmospheric deposition. Plants or vegetables that grow quickly can also uptake more heavy metals due to the roots up taking more water. Transfer factor of heavy metals in plants is based on metals that are easily transferrable from the soil to the plant tissue.
Cadmium turns out to have a really high transfer rate, TF values, .038 to 1.258, which is fifty times higher than copper or lead (TF, or transfer factor, is a ratio based on the metals transferring into the plants, mg kg_1FW from the soil, mg kg_1DW and copper only had a .002 to .02 TF values while lead only had .001 to .21 TF value). This suggests that cadmium is the major heavy metal in vegetables that the citizens living near the e-waste recycling center need to be concerned about. Because although copper is high in the soils, its uptake in plant roots is very low. For lead, atmospheric deposition is the best way for the metal to reach the plant and get absorbed (it has a similar rate as copper).The rice in the paddy field showed high levels of lead, which suggests that rice grains absorb lead well and the people who have eaten the rice growing in the paddy fields have consumed some amount of lead (Luo et al., 2011).
Primitive e-waste recycling is incredibly dangerous to the environment. The heavy metals can be dispersed through atmospheric deposition or through leaching into the soils. If the soils
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem become contaminated with the heavy metals, it is possible that the nearby plants can be affected. This is especially dangerous for the villages that use primitive e-waste recycling methods and have agricultural fields nearby. Lead and cadmium are the two elements that seem to show up the most in foods that people eat. In addition, food can get transported, so the problem becomes more widespread as more people get exposed to these high levels of heavy metals.
b. Human Health
The electronic waste research has been growing in the past years. However, despite this, there is still a great uncertainty as to how breaking down the electronic devices impacts human health. Five databases ((PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, PsycNET, and CINAHL) were examined and it was found that from all of the studies on those databases that were looked at, e-waste exposure is harmful, but none of them have actually found a strong enough correlation. Boys in electronic waste recycling towns had a lower forced vital capacity (the ability to force air into the lungs) than boys who did not grow up in recycling towns. There are more studies that
Table 2. Class Exposure and Concentration Limits for Individual Metal Catalysts and Metal
* Specific limits have been set for inhalation exposure to Platinum. Chromium 17 and Sickel (see section 4.4 and the respective monographs
** Subclass limit: the total amount of listed metals should not exceed the indicated limit
(European Medicines Agency, 2007)
Oral Exposure Parenteral Exposure
Classification PDE Concentration PDE Concentration
(gg/day) (ppm) (pg/day) (ppm)
Class 1A:
Pt, Pd
( lass IB: 100 10 10* 1*
Ir, Rh. Ru. Os lOO I0 10* 1**
Class 1C: Mo. Ni, Cr, V 300 30 30* 3*
Metals of significant safety concern
Class 2: Cu, Mn 2500 250 250 25
Metals with low safety concern
Class 3:
Fe, Zn 13000 1300 1300 130
Metals with minimal safety concern
show women having trouble with their pregnancy including premature births, reduced weight births, stillborns and unplanned abortions (Grant et al., 2013).
Regulations for heavy metals are divided
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem into classes depending on their chronic and acute toxicity to humans. The residues of metals can either be present as the original form of the metal or as a form of the metallic element altered by downstream chemical processing. Exposure to these metals should not exceed certain amounts. Class 1 metals are metals that contain human carcinogens and harm the health if ingested, inhaled or come into contact with. Table 2 shows the Class exposure to heavy metals and their concentrations that should not be exceeded in parts per million and pg/day for medications. PDE stands for permitted daily exposure. For the intake, the acceptable daily intake (ADI), which is used by the World Health Organization (WHO), was added to the table (European Medical Agency, 2007).
Guiyu, China has become incredibly notorious for their improper ways of recycling e-waste, specifically circuit boards where they bum the plastic to get to some of the precious metals inside. When they burn or melt the plastic, glass and metals, it releases toxic chemicals into the air. Samples were taken of freshwater rivers Lianjiang and Nanyang inside and outside of the city to compare and contrast the differences between blood lead levels in the residents. Outside of the city, in the reservoir and in the two rivers, the water quality was described as having low total dissolved solids and a neutral pH. This contrasted sharply with his samples from Guiya that showed a spike in dissolved silver, cadmium, cobalt, copper, nickel and zinc (Wong et al., 2007).
In 2004 when samples of the dust were taken from the roads and nearby workshops in Guiya, the samples found higher levels of heavy metals, specifically lead, copper and zinc, throughout the city, with the most concentrated amounts closer to the workshops where they were melting the circuit boards. The toxic particulates get absorbed through the skin, inhaled through airborne pathways, or ingested by the humans living there and begin to affect the organs
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem after an extended period of time by after continuous exposure to the metals. Having all these high levels of heavy metals causes serious health concerns for the people who live around that particular area because it can cause chronic or acute toxicity that can damage the nervous system or vital organs. Children who have parents that recycled circuit boards had the highest blood lead levels than the children whose parents recycled plastics (Leung, 2008).
Children are also more sensitive to e-waste chemicals because they can be exposed in many different ways that adults do not usually do. Children are exposed more by different routes and different behaviors. For example, children normally breastfeed when they are young, which adds extra risk to their exposure to heavy metals. Children are also more likely to use their hands to eat and pick up heavy metals through oral ingestion. It not only makes them more prone to get cancer later in their lives but also suffer from respiratory diseases, kidney and liver failure and bone loss. In addition, Alzheimers disease and neurological damage was found to be linked to burning copper wires. Long-term exposure to these chemicals can result in peripheral vision loss and damage to the central nervous system (Mulvaney and Robbins, 2011). In Guiyu, children six year and under have all been tested for levels of lead in their blood and compared to children
outside of the city. Children who live
Figure 5. A child taking apart circuit boards in
inside Guiyu had a much higher blood lead levels than the children in Chendian (another city in China). Over 81% had blood levels higher than >10 pg/dL, where the average blood lead level in children in America is roughly 2 pg/dL (New York State Department of Health,
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 2009). Researchers have linked the high lead levels in the childrens blood to be from primitive e-waste recycling where workers and, in extension, the children, are exposed to the heavy metals from the electronics (Huo et al., 2007). Figure 5 shows a young child in a house in Guiya, China dismantling circuit boards that had been sent over from other countries to be recycled for parts. Behind the child is a pile of discarded electronic equipment that shows just how massive Guiyas e-waste recycling production is. The toxicity does not remain in Guiya. Wind patterns in China have blown the dust from the city to other cities where they have seen rises in lead and cadmium level concentrations and cadmium in the body. In Eastern China, Taizhou, it was found that the rice samples had 2-4 times more lead and cadmium in the rice than what was allowed (Robinson, 2007).
In addition to having devastating consequences on human health, poor e-waste recycling practices have also been shown to hurt ecosystems and the environment. Next to Guiya, China, researchers found fish wish elevated amounts of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs) that were high due to bioaccumulation in the carp due to the wind blowing the particulate dust across the region into the waters and soils. (Robinson, 2007).
It is not just China that has to worry about heavy, toxic metals. In a study conducted that examined jewelry that was made in China and then exported into the United States. It was found that the jewelry contained higher than normal amounts of copper, lead and tin. When circuit boards are heated in pools of molten solder, which is a popular technique when recycling electronic waste, the copper will move into the solder which is already half lead and half tin. It is suggested that to be opportunistic, the makers take the solder and then create the jewelry from that. This means that without even realizing it, Americans can be impacted from the primitive e-waste methods in China (Weidenhamer and Clement, 2007).
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
In India, a study was conducted in Bangalore and Chennai, India to see what the effects of e-waste recycling were because India uses the same primitive e-waste methods as China. Soil samples and samples from people from both cities were taken for comparison. To measure the trace elements in humans, hair was taken and examined. The samples were studied and it was found that the Bangalore slums where the e-waste recycling was taking place had high levels of heavy metals. Concentrations of trace elements (e.g. copper, lead, chromium, cadmium, zinc etc.) were found in the soil, air and in the hair of the citizens of Bangalore. The hair of the residents in Bangalore showed substantial amounts of silver and cadmium, noting that the values for mercury were low. Nonetheless, there was still a tremendous difference in hair of the locals in Bangalore and the people of Chennai (Ha et al., 2009).
Human health can be severely compromised when using primitive, informal e-waste methods. Being exposed to heavy metals constantly can damage the health to not only the adults but to the children in the e-waste recycling towns as well.
v. E-Waste Management Practices a. E-Waste in the United States
E-waste in the United States only consists of a one to two percent of the municipal waste volume. In the United States, e-waste is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. E-waste is exempt from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which is a federal law that governs the disposal of solid waste and hazardous wastes because the government does not see e-waste as hazardous. It can safely go into a landfill without issues because modern landfills are complex enough to handle e-waste and leachate (Vaughn, 2009). Although the EPA strongly encourages citizens to recycle and not dispose of their electronics to the landfills, e-waste can be disposed of in landfills since the EPA considers e-waste to be non-
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem hazardous waste or non-waste. Specifically, the EPA classifies household wastes as non-hazardous wastes; this also includes electronics, scrap metal, precious metals and whole circuit boards.
While the United States has little to no regulation of e-waste, the federal government does monitor the cathode ray tubes as those are considered hazardous waste (Tonetti, 2007). Most waste in the United States goes into landfills because it is easier to control the pollutants that can emerge from landfills as opposed to incinerators which create toxic air pollution and ash (Lehmann, 2011). Landfills in the United States are usually underground. A layer of plastic, which is usually polyethylene, is put down to keep the contents from percolating into the soil below and polluting the groundwater, then the trash is added to the hole where soil is promptly put in place to cover the trash. Having water percolate through the landfill is unavoidable and as it does, the water picks up chemicals and compounds. This is called leachate and is usually collected and sent to a treatment center to be cleaned (El-Haggar, 2007).
The leaching of heavy metals from electronic waste was tested using actual computers and televisions and monitors with cathode ray tubes put into landfill simulation columns. The experiment found that lead from CTRs was most likely to leach out of the landfill and contaminate the ground below. When measuring the amount of lead, researchers found that lead leaches from the CRTS at an average concentration of 18mg/L in toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP), a soil sample extraction method at the EPA standards usually used for hazardous waste. This exceeded 5mg/L which was limit of a waste being classified as hazardous (Li et al., 2009). A study, with contradictory results (although that could be because it was done at a different site than the previous), of the leaching of lead into the ground from landfills was also studied using a similar method of columns with waste in them. The authors found that the
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem leaching of the lead from a modern, well engineered landfill would not result in large quantities of lead leachate. This was done as a simulation of a landfill in a lab with acid added to aid the leaching process (acid makes the leaching of lead occur more frequently) for a worst-case scenario. The lead levels were still below regulatory levels. Electronics were added to manufactured waste and after a year, the fifty samples of leachate were collected with the highest lead concentration being 66pg/L. this number is expected to go down in the real world since the acidity levels used in the lab will not likely be present (Spalvins et al., 2008).
Problems that make recycling e-waste difficult is that the federal government usually leaves it up to the states as to what they want to do so laws tend to vary from state to state (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006). In addition, more problems can occur depending on how the device is made. Manufacturers do not usually make electronics easy to dismantle and for those who recycle the material, this means that getting to the heavy metal that needs to be recycled or disposed of separately can be extremely challenging. For example, Jaragh and Boushahri (2009) state that televisions that use mercury lamps have to have them taken out because of the mercurys toxicity level. However, getting to the lamps is a difficult process since the television is held together by different screws or glue and the end result is the recyclers just discarding the whole television into the landfills. In addition, Jaragh and Boushahri claim that the television screens are made up of a certain type of liquid crystal that cannot be recycled and the recommended way of disposing of the crystal screen is to incinerate it.
Landfills are the most common way to dispose of e-waste because e-waste recycling needs certain infrastructure which has the means to actually recycle the material. Since the United States does not have adequate fixed infrastructure for recycling to handle huge volumes of e-waste production. For instance, the United States has only a few people employed to recycle
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem electronics with only California having a Electronics Waste Recycling Act. However, there is still no single strategy for collecting electronic waste and most of the strategies mainly consist of drop-off areas. In all these cases, the consumer is responsible for the transportation and knowledge of electronic waste recycling. A curbside pick-up of e-waste is the easiest way for the consumer to dispose of the e-waste properly; however, this creates a certain amount of risk for theft and abandonment for other waste that isnt e-waste. In addition, having people store their electronics damages the probability that it will be recycled since as an electronic ages, the most difficult it is to access the parts and recycle them (Kang and Schoenung, 2005).
When recycling the cathode ray tubes, it is common for the CRT glass to be recycled into new CRT glass. This is done by removing the case on the outside of the CRT, then putting the tubes through a depressurization stage where it will then go through a shedder to separate the metals and plastics. Once that takes place, the glass goes into the furnace where it will be made into new glass. The other method for recycling CRT glass is the glass-to-lead method where the CRTs are shredded and then plastic and metals are separated. Then it goes through a smelting process where the lead and copper are taken out. However, the downside of this process, while overall cost effective and safer for the workers, requires smelters, which are a very expensive and rare. The scarcity of the smelters could be remedied by building more. The glass-to-lead recycling method also reduces the quality of the glass that comes out after the process (Kang and Schoenung, 2005).
The United States has created ways to dispose of e-waste including exporting it to other developing countries, incinerating it, or burying it in a landfill which is monitored by the EPA who states it is allowed. The majority of e-waste in the United States does not get recycled or
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem reused due to consumers lack of knowledge and lack of incentives and the lack of e-waste recycling services that get offered in the United States.
b. E-Waste Regulation in the European Union (EU)
In contrast to the United States and their weaker legislation on regulation of hazardous
waste and e-waste, the European Union has taken a strong stand to protect human health and the
environment from e-waste. The EU has begun to create new legislation to mitigate the harm that
electronic waste can create to monitor the use, recycling and disposal of hazardous waste e-
waste. Waste Electronic and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous
Substances (RoHS) are initiatives that the EU has taken to curb the effects of e-waste disposal.
These initiatives were proposed in 2002 and put into effect in January 1, 2003 (Zeng et al.,
2013). WEEE was designed to increase the EUs recovery and recycling electronic equipment by
using extended producer responsibility (EPR) methods. This is done by putting the responsibility
of the electronic on the producer who are the ones who then have to recycle and reuse the
electrical equipment. For this to work, the consumer can drop the electronic equipment off free
of charge while the producers, the companies, are offered incentives to recycle, reuse, and
dispose of the e-waste in a safe manner. There are ten categories that e-waste can be disposed
into. They include: large household appliances, small household appliances, information
technology and telecommunication equipment, consumer equipment, lighting equipment,
electrical and electronic tools, toys and leisure, sports equipment, medical devices, monitoring
and control devices, and automatic dispensers. Because the EU operates underneath the Basel
Convention, they prohibit exporting e-waste to developing countries to get the waste out of sight,
out of mind (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006).
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
According to Black (2005) the EU has also imposed a ban on lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium in electronics and as such, now the electronics industry has begun to search for new and alternative alloys for keep the temperature low in electronics without using lead. This is due to the RoHS initiated which directly limits the use of lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium as well as polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006). These six substances are allowed only in a .1% by weight in each device.
In addition, the EU also has the regulation, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals (REACH) program. It is the program that will evaluate and regulate the risks of chemicals in the electronics including the registration of chemicals that are being imported or produced in the EU. This program is also responsible for regulating any new chemical or substance that wants to be introduced into the EU market for consumers. This program is the largest and most complex environmental law that the EU has ever undertaken (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006).
However, these laws have been the result of extensive debate and negotiations between the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament and as such, some of the limits had to be waived in order to reach an agreement. Critics have often argued that because some of the limits were rejected and compromised, the law isnt green enough. This, in turn, has led EU members to create stricter rules regarding policy on producers disposing of their e-waste properly. Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden have all created harsher laws that regulate hazardous e-waste. Sweden, for example, has begun to move to a mercury free society where they ban all products that contain it. In contrast to these countries, the chemical companies have pushed back against the strict laws of the REACH. They claim that the new laws harm the
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem economy and their businesses as the chemical industry is the third largest manufacturing industry in Europe (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006).
Furthermore, the European Union will be extending their e-waste laws so that each country will be required to collect 45% or more of their electronic products by 2016. After 2019, the initiative will make it so that all members that are part of the EU can either collect 65% of all electronic waste sold or 80% of all electronic waste that was generated with no charge to the consumer. However, an environmental spokesperson in the EU does warn that electronics sold by companies will probably contain a hidden cost to the consumer (Fela, 2012).
Cui and Zhang (2008) have collected data from around the European Union and their methods to reclaim and reuse metals. The authors have reviewed the different processes to get the metals from the electronic devices. E-waste recycling gets broken down into three stages: disassembly, upgrading, and refining. Disassembly consist of the e-waste being taken apart for reusable parts and getting the hazardous parts out of the device. Mechanical processing is the step that prepares the electronic pieces for the refining process. The refining process is where the materials are gathered and using metallurgical processing. To get the best results, the electric waste should be shredded into tiny pieces with a diameter less than 10mm. mechanical processing or metallurgical processing is the best for getting a full yield of materials, which includes plastics. After the materials have been screened, then the material can be sorted through either electric-conductivity, magnetically, or by its shape (Cui and Forssberg, 2003). In the last step, different metallurgic techniques to melt of dissolve the metals. This is done by pyrometallurgical processing and hydrometallurgical processing. Pyrometallurgical processing is the incineration and smelting to remove the extra metals, scraps and plastics. The Noranda process in Quebec, Canada uses the energy created from the melting and combustion of plastics
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem and flammable material to help run the smelter. The copper that emerges from the smelter is 99.1% pure with the other .9% representing heavy metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and nickel. In Boliden Ltd. Ronnskar Smelter, Sweden, materials that have high amounts of copper are put into the Kaldo Furnace. The Kaldo Furnace then produces a copper alloy that can be sent to another converter to get the other metals (gold, silver, nickel, selenium, etc.) out of the alloy. The Dunns patent for gold refining effectively retrieved gold from the electronic device after washing it with hydrochloric acid and the Days patent for refractory ceramic precious metals scraps allowed for the retrieval of platinum and palladium. The hydrometallurgical processing e-waste recovery is more precise and easily controlled. Its expected steps consist of acid and leaching (often using cyanide or halide, fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine) of solid material. After that, then the materials get separated and purified. Throughout the whole process, the pH of the acid concentration plays a heavy role as to how much lead and copper can be retrieved from the material. This type of e-waste recycling is becoming used less as people have begun to get wary of the use of cyanide. Biometallurgy is an e-waste metal reclamation process that has been heavily studied and researched recently. It is the way microbes (algae, bacteria, yeasts and fungi) interact with the metals to either bind metals together or to trasnsport them somewhere else. Bioleaching allows scrap metal concentrations to become available and mobilize from 60% to 90% using bacteria Thiobacilli to help leach the metal. This worked best with copper, nickel, zinc and aluminum. Fungi can also leach the metals and the metal-waste by creating oxidizers to eventually precipitate out. Biosorption deals with mostly algae, fungi, and bacteria. This depends on many different factors, such as acidic conditions (favorable for the bacteria). Gold is the most commonly focused on metal and the process uses ion-exchange and chemical adsorption onto the cell walls of the bacteria. Out of all of the methods to reclaim e-waste metals, biometallurgy has
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem the most potential (Cui and Zhang, 2008). Throughout Europe, there are many places where infrastructure is being built to accommodate the growth of e-waste disposal safely and the policies governing e-waste disposal, the infrastructure will only grow.
Despite the European Unions laws, much of the e-waste that is produced in the European countries still goes to a landfill or gets exported to a developing country. It is estimated that only a third of the e-waste actually gets recycledthe rest either still gets exported to developing countries or put into landfills. One aspect of the European Unions e-waste recycling program is to curb hazardous and toxic parts, which is the WEEE, RoSH, and the REACH program. The other aspect is the idea of a circular economy, where electronic devices are monitored, managed, and documented because electronic goods are usable. Circular economy tries to keep the wastes processed as close to the source as possible. Since e-waste has so much value, it is argued that the European Union needs to keep the e-waste re-circulating in their economy instead of sending it out to developing countries (the developing countries are non-OECD). This means changing the mindset of the European people into thinking that the contents of their electronic device are important resources or raw resources that recovered to be more efficient (Kama, 2015).
The European Union has led the world in many things before and now it is leading the world in legislation on electronic and hazardous wastes. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a concept that the EU has created to make producers of electronics more responsible for the e-waste after the consumer is done with it. This is done by changing the responsibility from municipal wastes back to the producers by offering incentives to handle the electronic devices in an environmentally friendly way (Environmental policy tools and evaluation, 2015). The general goal of Extended Producer Responsibility is to ensure that the products that are created are environmentally friendly and that the electronics are made with high quality materials that have
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem been reused or have been retrieved from places that are environmentally sound. Individual responsibility and collective responsibility is an essential part of EPR programs where the producer will take responsibility of their own products or where the producers in the same product group will collaborate together no matter the trade name; however it has been studied and suggested that individual responsibility works best because companies can keep the materials within the same cycle (Van Rossem et al., 2006). Implementing Extended Producer Responsibility is more challenging. The incentives for the producers to take extended responsibility were examined. The producers interest in EPR is largely dependent on the benefits that the producers will receive. If there are no incentives and the producers feel they are losing money, they will not want to participate in the EPR system. Parts of the system that can cost money or make EPR less incentivized is stock piling the e-waste. This costs money with very little to no profit made for them in this step since the producers have to accept the electronic device free of charge. Sometimes, producers will end up trying to bid for their products from third parties if the consumer does not return the electronic device directly back to them, especially with third party cherry picking where parties get access of the electronic devices before the producers and get the precious parts of the waste(Kalimo et al., 2015). Third party e-waste collectors are called producer responsibility organizations (PRO). These are the organizations disposing of the actual e-waste the producers fund themand they can be private or public departments (Surak, 2011). The EPR also has vague statements on what the consumers should be doing. Consumers have been told that it is discouraged to discard their electrical devices into the municipal waste stream but that they still needed to make appropriate measures to minimize the disposal of electronic waste. To alleviate some of the problems that EPR is experiencing, it would be helpful to spread out the responsibility to others more, as well
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem as get move government intervention (Kalimo et al., 2015). Another flaw in EPR is that it does not decrease the volume of e-waste being created. It simply tries to control where the e-waste goes after the consumer is finished with it. This means that perceived and planned obsolesce and still a factor (Surak, 2011).
The European Union is a leading force of e-waste recycling. It has leading methods for methods and extraction for reclamation. The EU also has launched policies and regulations to help curb e-waste disposal and what happens after the consumer is finished with it. The rest of the world is looking towards Europe and how they deal with e-waste including their WEEE, REACH, and RoSH policies that establish groundbreaking rules of who takes responsibility of e-waste disposal, what can be in the electronic devices to begin with, and evaluating the dangers of e-waste.
c. Chinas Policy Initiatives
China is a country of particular concern with regards to e-waste. Since most of the production of electronics takes place in China and China has a large population of people, they also end up creating a lot of e-waste. Like the European Union, China has also created their own WEEE and RoHS and life-cycle programs to try and eliminate or mitigate e-waste and stop hazardous wastes from harming human health and the environment in January 2011. They have adapted the slogan polluter should pay. In China, this means that the disposal of e-waste is divided into the distributors making sure that they are collecting and delivering the e-waste to the recyclers. The recyclers, in turn, are responsible for reuse, disassembly, and final deposition of e-waste. Unlike the EU, China has a stronger governmental presence. There are more ministries and more government hierarchy, such as the state councils, the provinces and then the country government, in the country than the EU (Zeng et al., 2013). There are currently four government
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem agencies that oversee e-waste. These agencies include: National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITT), and finally, Ministry of Finance. The National Development and Reform Commission tackles resource efficiency and environmental protection. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) gives legislation for e-waste management and. This program is aimed specifically for dismantling e-waste and its reuse and disposal. The Ministry of Industry and Information and Technology tries to prevent EEE pollution from the sources as well as trying to curb the use of hazardous materials. This is similar to the RoHS that the European Union has created. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for subsidizing for e-waste collection and treatment. It has been suggested that the way to get China and its citizens more aware of e-waste and its disposal is to invoke the carrot method which would create incentives for people to not dispose of e-waste improperly (Lu et al., 2015).
However, because China is still a developing country, recycling and disposing of e-waste is second to their economy and its growth so e-waste disposal is mostly still using informal and primitive methods (Veenstra et al., 2010). Chinas laws that have been created are called Circular Economy Promotion Law, Solid Waste Pollution Control Law, and Clean Production Promotion Law. These three laws that have been enacted try and promote cleaner production and try to mitigate the design of an electronic. The issue arises when trying to collect e-waste and at a regional level (Lu et al., 2015).
The development and growth of turning Chinas e-waste disposal from primitive to advanced and safe can be categorized into four steps that can be taken: the informal, primitive recycling of e-waste that is illegally imported into China (1980s-2000), the co-existing phase where the cities recognize the pollution and harm of primitive e-waste recycling and have some
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem regulations (2001-2008), the development phase where China WEEE regulation and RoHS recovery and recycling processes will be developed and implemented, which is where they currently are in the timeline (2009-2020), and, lastly, by 2020, China wants to have the mature phase of e-waste disposal in place where they have innovative technology and large-scale, official dismantling treatment plants for their e-waste (Zeng et al., 2013).
In China, after the consumer gets rid of an electronic device, the device goes to a street hawker, or street peddler, that pays the consumer for the device. After the street hawker takes the electronic device, it is then taken to a collection point where the electronic is traded for money to a secondhand market. The buyers from these secondhand markets can be poor schools, poor families who cannot afford to buy electronics firsthand, or villages that recycle and scrap the electronic device. Roughly 21% of all electronics get passed down to another family member in China. While 55% of the electronics get sold to a street hawker and 15% get sold directly to a secondhand market. After the secondhand market, it is estimated that approximately 54.7% of the electronic devices get taken apart for spare parts and raw material while 43% of the devices are refurbished and resold. To model this, Veenstra et al. (2010) uses the Markov chain model. The Markov chain model shows that if the electronic is refurbished or resold to a secondary owner, then the electronic gets delayed from being trashed several years. Overall, the Markov model also guesses that overtime, Chinas WEEE legislation gets put into effect, there will be an improving ratio in terms of sales-to-disposal, meaning that China would have to encourage dealers and retailers and discourage secondhand markets as high volumes of e-waste get disposed of and not reused or recovered. It is also projected that there will be an increasing role of dealers in recovering products and since there will be a greater focus on producer responsibility. (Veenstra et al., 2010).
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
The concern with street peddlers and dealers is lack of knowledge and so they begin to use informal methods of dismantling the electronics to get at the metals, wires, or circuit boards by cutting, heating and melting, and recovering the metals. Besides, the street peddlers and street hawkers there is a general lack of public participation. In 2004, China created cities specially designed to handle the disposal of e-waste. One such city was Haier, China which had a facility that only treated 800 devices when the total annual capacity of the facility had been created to dispose of 6000,000 units. Companies in China began to try and encourage e-waste recycling by joining together and collecting the e-waste. In 2009, China launched its buy a new one with a used one campaign to get citizens to trade in their home appliances. This allowed China to reach 69.52 million units or 1.52 tons of e-waste in 2011. This is causing an economic boom in China as there is a great need and demand for e-waste recycling centers through large-scale delivery and distribution. To treat e-waste, it can be chemical, biological or physical (physical recovery is still the most popular recycling method for e-waste since it can take the since it is the physical break down of the electronic and separating different parts based on physical properties). Public participation is also spurred by the general lack of a collection system in places, there is also the technological challenge. China simply does not have all of the resources to effectively treat a lot of the e-waste and therefore, many places that recycle e-waste are still largely informal without the technology capabilities or the financial resources (Lu et al., 2015).
While China still has a long way to go before their laws and their legislation begins to see a large difference, they are still actively trying to mitigate the dangers of having e-waste going around the country without regulation. This is a start and by modeling, their laws after the European Union, China will eventually see great success in their control over e-waste and their products as most and more e-waste gets created. The Markov chain model shows that overtime,
37


Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem Chinas e-waste will not be as out of control and the sales to disposal ratio will improve. Added to the legislative powers that Chinas government possesses, the countrys e-waste disposal dilemma will mend overtime.
The economics and revenue of formal e-waste disposal in China is positive and has a great deal of potential. There is a huge market niche for reusing and taking certain parts, specifically from electronic home appliances (EHA), from the old electronics in Beijing in a safe and proper manner. When looking at a few facilities in Beijing, the time it took to dismantle an electronic was examined as well as the economic feasibility. This was done by separating levels of e-waste processing and evaluating how effective they were. Economic feasibilities were measured by the profitability of the material after it was extracted from the appliance and the processes of each home appliance.
Televisions took roughly 9 minutes to disassemble and take the parts from and refrigerators were noted for being sent to the incinerators the most often. About 70%-90% of the time, the dismantling was done by people and not machines. Overall, the net revenues for dismantling televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines were negative. Computers were the home electronic that consistently came out with a positive net revenue when dismantled. Because of the net revenues, it was then calculated that if the money paid to the household was decreased even a fraction or if companies paid for part of the e-waste disassembly, then it would be easier for the facilities to break-even.
When conducting a poll in China, it showed that the citizens generally wanted the producer of the electronic device to pay for the cost for e-waste recycling (Figure 6). However, producers do not want to pay and will resist any additional charges on them, meaning that the burden of baking up the extra cost to recycle the material will fall onto the consumer. Most of the
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem citizens agreed that they would not
dispute a fee so long as the fee did not exceed 50 RMB per electronic appliance (Figure 7). If those small costs can be chipped into the facilities, then the net revenue of e-waste recycling can
Figure 6. Percentage of the residential opinions concerning with the payers.
become more positive and more economically feasible. There is a push to make the producers more responsible for the electronic appliance and even if the producers are not willing to foot the bill, then it has been shown that Beijing (and perhaps other parts of China) are
Producer should pay Consumer should pay
Retailer should pay Local gov ernment should pay
(Liu et al., 2009)
Figure 7. Percentage of households and how much they are willing to pay
ready to tackle the issue of the growing
Less than 30 RMB/unit 30-50 RMB/umt 50-100 RMB/uml
100-200 RMB/unil More than 200 RMB/umt Not willing to pay al all
(Liu et al., 2009)
e-waste issue. China can change their
ways from informal and primitive e-waste management to formal e-waste recycling and reuse (Liu et al., 2009).
When examining the e-waste streams in Taizhou, researchers found that most of the e-waste came from Japan and only 35% of it came from the United States. While Taizhou (and other county towns of district sites like Fengjiang, Wenling and Yuhuan) has some firms that can recycle e-waste, it also has many households that take apart e-waste for its valuable parts because not only is e-waste frequently brought into the city whether through formal ways or informal ways and it is a low-stake way to make a profit. To encourage safe e-waste recycling, China
39


Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem will receive twelve dollars and fifty cents to certified recyclers. This amount of money is still creating competition among the formal e-waste recycling sector and the informal sector. When asking residents if they would recycle their e-waste safely, 60.7% stated they did not see the difference in the price difference that the recyclers saw if they recycled their e-waste safely or not. In addition, 15.8% firmly stated there were similar prices in e-waste recycling were the same whether they discarded their electronic devices through formal streams or informal streams. It was concluded from this specific study that the there is a lack of incentive to dispose of e-waste in an environmentally friendly way and that the competition between the formal sector and the informal sector are still competitivesomething that needs to change if China ever wants to stop informal e-waste recycling (Chi et al., 2014). A similar study was done in Beijing and it discusses how residents there are also not willing to participate in e-waste recycling even if it benefits the environment. The citizens most likely look for an easy way to dispose of their electronic devices and accepting an additional payment for safe recycling has not caught on just yet. People there are still incredibly reluctant to pay more but ultimately would accept the charge if laws and regulations in China changed and forced them to pay. The citizens reluctance in e-waste recycling was also dependant on how easily it is to get recycle the electronic device. As of now, many Beijing residents would like to recycle more but are limited by time and professional recovery spots. In Beijing, it will be important to try and educate its citizens on the pros of safe e-waste recycling as well as try and create more structures so that those who want to recycle their electronic devices in a proper manner can do so (Wang et al., 2011).
E-waste is more likely to become properly disposed of in the urban setting as opposed to the rural, small towns like Guiya or Taizhou, China. Taizhou relies on imported e-waste to keep its economy steady. In cities like Taizhou, e-waste is incredible valuable because of money it can
40


Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem create in the households and is one of the largest e-waste recyclers in China. Like most developing countries dismantling e-waste, they import it illegally through a nearby port (Chi et al., 2014). In rural areas of China, this is not uncommon. Many jobs are in the urban parts of the country with the exponential population rise and the exponential growth of Chinas economy, most of the jobs are found in the city or around it. This displaces the people who live in rural areas and formerly dealt with agricultural lands and business to migrate into more industrial areas of the country. The recent and rapid urbanization has caused many rural areas to convert their agricultural land into industrial development, urban construction, and infrastructural projects. These three movements of transitioning the type of land use can also be correlated with land tenure rights and compensation measures, the rural workers livelihoods as well as environmental degradation. In 2008-2009, it is estimated that the unemployment rate for migrant workers was around roughly 23 million with only 2 million out of the 14 million workers that had left their rural towns for the cities finding jobs outside of their home town (Siciliano, 2014). The example given was the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, however, the recycling of e-waste parallels that of the residents of the rural towns that dispose of e-waste. Being able to disassemble e-waste in homes allows for people to continue making money without having to travel into the city. It gives them an occupation to make money (Chi et al., 2014). To remedy this, Siciliano (2014) claims that the Chinese government needs to step in and help ease the wage gap between the rural areas and the urban areas, give aid to workers that cannot find work, and help ease the transition process of the displaced better. The Chinese government will need to completely re-think their plans for rural development so that e-waste mismanagement can become less of a problem in the rural areas where the residents are just trying to make a livelihood.
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
China is a developing country and their policies and legislation on e-waste is an enormous step for them. China will need to continue to regulate and monitor e-waste as many of their methods are still informal and primitive. They also need to begin to develop more resources in their country for more assessable e-waste disposal as well as start encouraging the public to recycle and dispose of their e-waste properly. Incentives need to be given to citizens that discard their e-waste in a proper manner and street peddlers and secondhand markets need to be included in the incentives so that the e-waste does not find its way to remote places that dismantle e-waste inadequately. However, once those resources are in place, China should have an easy time reaching their goal of mature e-waste disposal infrastructure that can handle large scale recycling processes.
III. Sustainable Solutions
As time passes, more electronic equipment will be created. It is important to establish clear and rigorous guidelines that countries have to follow globally, developed and developing countries alike. Developed countries cannot be exempt from any regulations because those are the countries that are doing most of the disposing of e-waste and sending it into developing countries. Developing countries cannot be exempt from regulations because most of the time, those countries lack the infrastructure to safely disassemble the electronic device and avoid putting hazardous metals or substances into the environment that could harm the public. It has to be a joint effort to reduce the impacts e-waste disposal can cause. Like the European Union and China and their WEEE, RoHS, and REACH programs and governmental agencies, the United States needs to begin to take e-waste seriously. This includes making the consumer and the producer aware of the risks in the e-waste stream and creating more laws and infrastructure to
42


Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem encourage and allow for more e-waste recycling and reuse. To do that would mean making the consumer educated in the dangers that improper e-waste recycling can have on communities across the globe. This includes making laws and regulations to make people conscious of their waste as well as creating governmental initiatives to help drive e-waste recycling.
The developing countries like China will have an additional obstacle that they will need to overcome. This will be the migration of rural areas to urban areas due to livelihood loss. The people in the rural areas are at a disadvantage than their urban counterparts in developing countries as they lose parts of their income and the wage gap increases between the two areas. To assuage the desperation of the workers in the rural areas where they dispose of e-waste improperly, the Chinese government will need to offer incentives that are larger than the incentives that the residents have now: disassemble e-waste despite the harm to the environment and human health to make a living and support the family. The unemployment rate of rural workers is becoming larger and larger and if the government completely stops the inflow of the electronic devices, then the unemployment will rise as the residents will not have a way of getting an income. Instead of cutting the e-waste stream off completely, the government should consider building safe infrastructure so that the residents can dismantle the e-waste in a safer way as opposed to doing it in the open and improperly.
Sending e-waste to landfills simply because the infrastructure is not or not known of cannot be an acceptable excuse anymore. There cannot be a reason why the United States does not recycle or reuse e-waste and the precious metals inside. To encourage recycling and reuse of electronics, the United States also needs to push to make the producers of the electronics more liable and more accountable for the electronics from cradle-to-grave. Steps need to be taken so that electronic companies will take the electronic device back and then extract the precious
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem metals to be reused in their newer products or have companies join together to collect the same type of e-waste, like collector responsibility in the European Union. Extended producers responsibility needs to be enacted in the United States to help ensure that the electronics get disposed of in ways that are safe and beneficial to the environment and the public health.
The United States must also adopt policies to protect the environment and human health. The United States needs to adopt the Basel Convention and stop illegally exporting their electronic waste and equipment to developing countries or the United States needs to help fund infrastructure to ensure the safe dismantling of electronic devices if there is reluctance to accept e-waste on U.S. territory.
In addition, there also needs to be a push to limit perceived obsolescence and planned obsolescence so that people are not trading in their new device or discarding it due to a little broken piece. This includes making the device last longer and making the desirability of the device last longer. It is inevitable that new technology will come out with new applications and functions; however, it should be made aware to the public to either recycle or discard their older electronics properly. This needs to be done on a federal government level and not just leaving it up to the states. RCRA is a federal law made by the government to oversee waste. This needs to include electronic waste and not just bundle e-waste with municipal waste.
These steps, if not all of them, need to be executed before e-waste becomes more of an issue with rising electronic use and disposal. It is important to create boundaries, limitations, and incentives early on and get companies, governments, and citizens motivated to recycle e-waste properly soon rather than later. If the steps are instituted early on, there will be plenty of room for improvement and growth of policies in the future because there will be an adjustment period
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
IV. Conclusions
Electronic waste is a growing concern for the whole world as more and more electronics get created and then disposed of when no longer needed. Advances in technology will greatly boost the amount of e-waste that is created. Disposal of electronic waste needs to be closely monitored because of the hazardous, heavy, precious metals that are inside of the devices. Countries need to come to an agreement to help prevent degradation of the environment and public health from improper disposal of e-waste.
Improper e-waste disposal harms not only those who physically have to dismantle the device, but it harms those around the primitive e-waste towns either from atmospheric deposition and winds or through food transfer if there is an agricultural farm nearby the e-waste smog. The health and environment are compromised greatly around the sites where primitive e-waste recycling takes place. This happens in the plants and the crops that are grown and also in the health of the citizens that live there. Citizens are more likely to experience respiratory or neurologic damage and so informal e-waste recycling methods, while they may bring in a small income for the towns, need to be replaced by formal, safe methods of e-waste disposal. To stop this, developed countries needs to stop exporting their e-waste over to developing countries to dispose of. This means that developed countries that have not already signed and ratified the Basel Convention, need to do so.
Developing countries need to start enacting laws and legislation that will alleviate the waste exported to developing countries by creating infrastructure and ways to recycle e-waste themselves. Consumers need to be aware of e-waste recycling options. There also needs to be a shift from the consumer taking initiative to recycle e-waste to the federal government and
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Meaghan Owens
Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem electronic companies taking imitative to recycle e-waste and mitigating the amount of e-waste that lands in the landfills or incinerators never to be used again. While landfills may not hurt the environment when constructed properly, the resources within the devices are much too valuable to be left in a landfill. Those metals, the valuable and potentially hazardous, need to be taken from the device and reused as close to the source as possibly, employing the circular economy method that the European Union is attempting to execute.
But while the disposal of the e-waste needs to be re-created, there also needs to be a push on the consumers. Consumers need to be persuaded to not buy the new electronic device model that comes out each and every time. Changing the way society views electronics and the metals and plastics inside will greatly decrease the use, and in extension, the amount of e-waste disposed of. The consumer needs to be aware exactly how valuable the materials in electronic devices are and thus treat and dispose of the device with more caution.
The world is changing rapidly and electronics and e-waste are incredibly new to this earth. While the health impacts and the environmental impacts are no entirely clear, it is crucial to recognize that high doses of heavy metals are healthy and policies need to be put into place to curb their unsafe release. E-waste can pose a great threat in the future but it does not need to be so if e-waste is taken care of responsibly now. This is not a one-solution-fix-all problem. It requires effort from the private citizens, the electronic companies, and the governments of developed and developing countries to work cohesively to create a plan to keep e-waste from harming human health and the environment without wasting the materials inside the device.
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Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E-waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem
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Disposal of E Waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem by Meaghan Owens An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the M etropolitan State University of D enver Honors Program May 2015 Dr. Shamin Ahsan Dr. Andrew Evans Dr. Megan Hughes Zarzo Primary Advisor Second Reader Honors Program Director

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 1 !"#$%&'(&)'*+%*+, & A BSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 2 I. I NTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 2 II. D EVELOPMENT AND A NALYSIS OF THE E W ASTE P ROBLEM ................................ ..................... 7 I B ACKGROUND ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 7 II E CONOMICS OF E W ASTE ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 III E W ASTE IN THE U NITED S TATES ................................ ................................ ........................ 13 IV I MPACTS OF E W ASTE ON THE E COSYSTEM ................................ ................................ ......... 16 A T HE E NVIRONMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 16 b. H UMAN H EALTH ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 20 V E W ASTE M ANAGEMENT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 24 A U NITED S TATES ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 24 B E UROPEAN U NION (EU) ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 28 C C HI NA ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 34 III. S USTAINABLE S OLUTIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 42 IV C ONCLUSIONS ................................ ................................ ................................ ...................... 45 V. W ORKS C ITED ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 47

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 2 @ A:BC@DB One of the major global environmental issues is concomitant with the disposal of wastes. Among several types of wastes electronic waste are considered the one of fastest growing. Recent studies estimated that in 2012 global generation of e waste totaled 45.6 million metric tons. Some study also report projected that by 2017 global e waste will increase a further 33% from 49.7 million to 65.4 million tons per annum. Due to unrestrained rise in e waste production and disposals practices, the global community is trying to shape up various regulatory apparatus to contain environmental and ecosystem impacts. It is believed that large volume of e wastes is legally and ill egally traded to least developed countries. Informal and formal recycling practices in developing countries are key center of attention. Most of the recent scientific studies are primarily focusing on connections of inappropriate handling and health effect s of workers in developing nations. Significant number of studies also laid emphasis on degradation of ecosystem health. Many researchers see an imminent concern of global tragedy, if appropriate measures are not taken. These study reports and experts view s warrants that producing developed nations to consider developing an effective plan for collection, disposal, and remedy of e waste Key Words: Electronic Waste, E waste, impacts, disposal, management heavy metals 1E 1 FBC8"GDB18F Electronic waste consists of white goods and brown goods. White goods are the larger appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves. Brown goods are the smaller items such as televisions, radios and computers The disposal of electronic devices has beg un to cause because of the volume that is being created each year. Electronic waste is only considered "disposed" when the electronic device is going into the trash or is being recycled. It does not include e waste products that are not being used anymore but are stored in homes and offices (EPA, 2011 ). E waste mainly consists of discarded appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves as well as old computers, radios, televisions and cell phones which contain plastics, glass, and preciou s metals. Once these devices become outdated or broken, they get disposed of by going to landfills or recycling plants. Most of the time, according to the Environmental Protection Agency the electronic waste is put into landfills with only twenty

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 3 seven percent of all e wast e being recycled (EPA, 2011 ). The seventy three percent of the electronics that get disposed of in the United States go into landfills or incinerators where the heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, and copper can seep out into the ground through the leachate (rainwater that has percolated through the landfill) Landfills are created to prevent leachate seeping into the ground by adding a device that catches it and returns it to the surface where the contaminated water can be treate d and then put back into the environment. Old televisions and computers used cathode ray tubes that contain between four to eight pounds of lead, or newer computers and televisions that use mercury lamps can create a hazardous environment if those heavy me tals and plastics go through incinerators or seep through the landfill linings (Jaragh and Boushahri, 2009). I ncineration results in both toxic solid and gaseous waste products and the ash and s moke become toxic. Once enough ash has been collected, it will get deposited into a landfill where the creation of leachate can become a concern (EPA, 2014). T wenty seven percent of e waste is recycled while the rest of the e waste is typically shipped, illegally, t o poorer countries to recycle and reuse Some of t he waste that had been recycled in the United States will also get shipped overseas, making the amount of e waste being shipped to other countries around 80% of all the waste that is collected (Robinson, 2009). The two major countries that import the to be recycled e waste are China and India, which are known for using primitive e waste recycling methods Primitive or informal e waste recycling methods are defined as the methods that do not use proper infrastructure or safety precautions when burning or dis mantling an electronic device Because primitive e waste recycling methods lack equipment, it can be extremely hazardous because these methods can release heavy metals into the environment harming the ecosystem and human health around the e waste recycling areas. ( Electronic Waste, 2015). The release of mercur y or lead into the environment at high levels can

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 4 become ingested or inhaled and then cause neurological damage, especially at the young age or in the fetus and infant development period (EPA 2010 ). T he release of high levels of cadmium from primitive e waste process can cause respiratory, cardiovascular, renal, and skeletal effects in humans and other animals living in the areas nearby (EPA, 2014). This contamination into the ecosystem occurs most often when methods of disposing e waste are primitive. Guiyu, China and the methods that town uses result in the majority of its citizens becoming ill and experience side effects of chronic exposure to these heavy, and toxic, metals. In developing countrie s uncontrolled dumpsites also create hazards for the environment and human health since the dumps are often left unmonitored, open and unsecure ( UNEP 2011). However, despite the harm that the disposal of e waste can create, it is still an enormous part o f a developing country's economy especially in the rural areas. Because of globalization China has been able to gain a strong GDP by importing e waste and build ing, creating and supporting their infrastructure for e waste. W ith the increasing dependence on technology and electronic devices it is impossible to escape the inevitable enormous quantities of e waste that are being created currently and will be created in the future As such, proper disposal of e waste is imperative to the health of the ecosyst em, including th e environment and human health (Joines, 2012). Internationally, there have been many ways countries have tried to control the disposal of electronic waste. In the European Union, there are two major legislative pieces that require the safe disposal of e waste. They are called Waste Electrical and Electronic E quipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous S ubstances (RoHS) This has set the international stage for proper e waste disposal and China is also following in the European Union's foots teps, hoping to have the restrictions and technology for recycling put into place by 2020. To catch up with the rest of the developed world, the United States needs to also implement similar restrictions on their

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 5 electronic equipment and offer more incenti ves for the producers and consumers to recycle and disp ose of their e waste properly. To date, the United States has left the management, collection and regulations up to the states and the consumers to recycle. The Environmental Protection Agency has ins tead been tasked to encourage citizens to recycle their electronic equipment out of social conscience. Recycling e waste still remains completely voluntary. The National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship was created combining the efforts of the white house, the EPA and the General services Administration. To curb the mismanagement of e waste, the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (2011) wants to build incentives to build greener and less hazardous products, promote take back programs with the companies that sell electronics, and establish a trade flow that complies with the Basel Convention trans boundary regulations for hazardous waste The prop er management of electronic waste problem is a massive problem that needs to be regulated and monitored through the cradle to grave. Cradle to grave is stated in the hazardous waste regulations the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) where hazard ous waste is monitored from when it first produced to when it gets disposed of (Hazardous Waste Regulations, 2015) Consumerism and the need for new electronics every time a new model comes out needs to be discouraged and management practices need to be e stablished to achieve a sustainable and safe way to dispose of e waste. To decrease consumerism, it is essential to change the mentality of the citizens. This would include, but not be limited to, changing how people perceive electronics (i.e. changing the value of the electronic device mentally) and changing the stigma that the electronic device needs to be exchanged for a newer model every few years. By

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 6 decreasing consumerism, it would decrease the demand for electronics and then in extension, decrease th e disposal of electronics. The purpose of this paper is to examine and critique the way electronic waste is disposed of and managed after it has left the consumer's sight. Specifically, this paper looks at how electronic waste is managed in three different countries ( the United States, China and the European Union ) and assessment of the different laws and legislation that have been put into place This paper will also look at how the improper and primitive e waste recycling in the developing countr ies can impact the ecosystem in ways of health and the environment from var ious studies conducted at the e waste recycling sites The paper will conclude with sustainable solutions for the e waste problems. The solutions include combined efforts from gove rnments, consumers, and companies in the electronic industry. The governments from developing countries and developed countries both need to begin to create infrastructure and legislation that will curb improper e waste disposal. The companies can aid this effort by encouraging electronic waste recycling. They can also help the e waste problem by boosting the longevity of the electronic product by making the product last longer before it breaks and by helping to create a product that is desirable for a long er period of time. Lastly, the consumer can become educated on the e waste complication Society and the consumerism culture need to become less wasteful in their purchases of electronics so that the demand of electronics is not so large

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 7 11E *H*I8J6*FB!@F"! @ F@IK:1:!8L!BM*! + @:B*! J C8AI*6! #E A @DNOC8GF" Electronic waste, or e waste for short, is a quickly growing stream of municipal waste in the United States. As the reliance and need for newer and more innovative technology continues to draw in consumers, the m ore e waste gets created. Electronic waste also gets thrown out due to perceived obsolescence and planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence happens when the manufacturers purposefully create the electronic device to break down or be obsolete within a set amount of time with parts that break easily. A percentage of the e waste does not get disposed of and sits inside, unused, in homes and offices. The seventy five percent of e waste that does get disposed of can either be recycled or it can be trashed into landfills or incinerators. Figure 1 shows the relationship between the

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 8 trashed e waste and the recycled e waste from EPA data in 2012. For cell phones, EPA (2011) estima tes that roughly twenty percent of mobile phones are kept in storage after usage instead of being recycled or thrown away. That type of waste includes refrigerators, computers, televisions, radios and mobile phones. Electronics need to have a flow of energ y in order to work. To get that flow of energy, circuit boards are created with conductors, insulators and semi conductors. The conductors are in the circuit boards to allow electricity to run through the device, insulators are made from glass and plastics and they keep the circuit from shorting out or getting too hot, and semi conductors are used to keep the current of electricity going but at a slower rate. The metals used for semiconductors are silicon and germanium. The best conductors use metals like s teel, copper or aluminum to allow energy to pass through easily ("Basic knowledge of Electronic Parts "). Lead is also good for being able to send signal from electronics because it is good for solder on circuit boards (Black, 2005). In addition to having c ircuits for electricity, some of the older electronics, like televisions, use cathode ray tubes which can project different colors. Because they are so easy to make, they can be mass produced fast and have been around for more than seventy years They are no longer made anymore as they have been replaced with mercury lamps (Gassler, 2012). Out of all the metals used in electronics, cadmium and lead are by far the most toxic. Cadmium is very toxic because it can easily penetrate into plants and agricultural crops that can be consumed. Lead is extremely toxic because it has a long residence time and can climb up the food chain easily and remain there. Mercury is a used in electronics as a lighting device to help illuminate flat screens. If released into the en vironment, mercury can be converted into methyl mercury which can interfere and damage the development of fetuses (Greenpeace).

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 9 To determine the approximate amount of how much waste of a certain item is created, Robinson (2009) uses the formula E=MN/L whe re M is the mass of the item, N is the number of units in service and L is the average lifespan of the item. This equation can be used to estimate how long people own their devices. The author suggests that smaller items get replaced faster than larger ite ms (e.g. an air conditioning unit is expected to last twelve years and it weights 55kg while a cell phone weight .1kg and gets replaced every two years). In addition to correlating the weight of a device to how long it is in use, Robinson also correlates t he global production as a fu nction of that country's Gross D omestic Product (GDP). As a country starts to get more income and have more money, the per capita use of computer and electronics also grows, thus allowing the disposal of electrical waste to incr ease as well (Robinson, 2009). There are a few ways ele ctronic waste can be disposed There is informal or primitive recycling and there is formal e waste recycling. In the European Union and 182 other countries, e waste is considered a hazardous waste which means that countries need to give and receive permission to export and import hazardous wastes into other another country's borders. This agreement to monitor and regulate the harmful substances as called the Basel Convention on the Control of the Tr ans Boundary Mov ements of Hazardous Wastes and their d isposal was established. Countries that signed onto this acknowledged that these items carried high toxicity rates when burned or recycled due to their composition and thus "developed a framework for co ntrols on the trans boundary movement of such waste" (Widmer et al., 2005). The United States signed but did not ratify the Basel Convention. The majority of the United States' electronic waste is sent to developing countries like China or India legally b ecause the Basel Convention has not been ratified, where they dispose of the electronic waste using primitive or informal methods impacting the citizens' health and the environment. "Approximately 10.2

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 10 million units of computers were exported annually fro m the United States to developing countries, including China, India and Pakistan" (Wong et al., 2007). The United States often ships the majority of its e was te to landfills or incinerators As e waste continues to grow, it will be important in the coming years to have firm rules and solutions to control the disposal of e waste. ##E D8F861D:!8L! + @:B* According to the United Nations Environment Program (201 1), a total of 11.2 billion ton s of solid waste are collected each year. E waste is set to grow expone ntially over the next few years with the developing countries, India, China South America and Africa, making up the bulk of the electronic sales as they catch up with the developed countries. As economies strengthen, so do electronic sales (Fig ure 2). In 2014, consumers worldwide spent $244 billion US dollars on electronics like computers, and mobiles. In 2015, the expected buying trend for global devices (PCs, tablets, and mobile phones) shipments is to grow 2.8% to 2.5 billion units. Specifically, th e mobile phone market is projected to grow 3.5% on the global scale to 1.9 billion units ( Van Der Meulen Gartner 2015). This means as there is more production and sales of electronic devices, there is more waste. Perceived obsolesce and planned obsolesce are also very important to acknowledge when discussing e waste because not only does it change the economy, it also creates addition, unnecessary waste. Perceived obsolescence

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 11 is where the appeal of the electronic device changes and so the device gets thro wn out because it lost its desirability even if it is fully functional. Manufacturers purposefully enact planned obsolescence because it causes a shorter lifespan of their products than the normal lifespan and raises the demand for the product. This cause s faster replacement for electronics. For example, radios were once designed to only last three years. Planned obsolesce can also come in the form of limited repair or cost of repair which is when the repair for the electronic has a similar price to just getting a new one. Faster replacement of an electronic can also come in the form of upgraded, function enhancement or new design aesthetics to the electronic. This is enhanced when cell phone companies offer cell phone upgrades every two years to keep the appeal of their company to the customers. This leads to people unnecessarily upgrading the cell phones and discarding the electronic devices into the e waste stream (Guiltinan, 2009). In 2014, a survey was conducted to examine what kind of e waste went to developing countries and it was found that roughly less than 95% of cell phones, televisions, digital cameras, and laptops were not second hand. Most of the electronic devices that had been discarded could have had a longer lifespan especially the consume r electronics since they were being replaced every couple of years unlike the larger appliances that got changed out roughly every eight years (Chi et al., 2014). China specifically uses e waste to boost its economy by breaking down the electronics and t aking out the raw material which is then re circulated and reused rather than recycled (Veenstra, 2010) Globally, China creates the second largest volume of e waste. In 2001, the country only produced 32.99 million units and in

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 12 2012, the number jumped to 229.66 million units. According to the United Nations, China is expected to produce 7 times more mobile phone e waste in 2020 compared to 2007. Figure 3 shows the relationship between China's GDP per capita, urbanization rate and e waste generated from 200 1 to 201 2 The e waste comes from households, institutions, or from equipment manufacturers (Lu et al., 2015). E waste parts are highly sought after, especially cell phones, calculators, and circuit boards where the precious metals make up 70% of the devic e's value (Cui and Zang, 2008) The metal that is recovered can be resold at different prices depending on which metal it is. For example, in desktops, lead, which is one of the main metals found in electronic waste, can be sold at $1.70 to $3.80 for 620 1373 grams. The aluminum found in electronics is usually around 680 960 grams which can be recovered and sold at $2.00 to $2.80 while copper can go from anywhere between $12.00 $22.00 for 1370 2640 grams in a desktop. Platinum in the desktop can go for $4.30 for only .066 grams. Getting the valuable metals from electronics can become very profitable, especially in poorer areas of the world that do not have a lot of revenue or income. Dismantling the electronic devices becomes a quick and easy way to get money, despite the concerns that it could have on public health or the environment. It is estimated that the sales from computers in the United States is roughly $90 billion and recycling the machines is roughly .3% of the market $270 million In a devel oping country, one CRT computer can bring in $50 which is significant amount of money for those households (Williams et al., 2008) There is an open market for recycling e waste and that market seems to be primarily in developing countries where unwanted e lectronic items or their parts can get recycled and reused and the citizens of the countries can profit from it. Developing countries try and use whatever they can to boost their economies. This includes recycling e waste for whatever little profit they ca n get because they

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 13 can dismantle the electronic devices relatively cheaply. China, specifically, their economic policy since 1977 has been "[economic] growth at any cost," including health costs Recently in China, there has also been a trend of job loss i n the agricultural fields as more and more people are finding that they cannot feed their families on a farmer's salary. This means that more people in China are beginning to rely on other ways to get money, including recovering e waste's precious metals ( Joines, 2012). The transfer of electronic goods from developed countries to developing countries was studied by Breivik et al. (2014). The study was to examine the references of other data and try to see how close the previous studies from 2005 have estim ated the amount of e waste being exported from OECD countries to non OECD countries. The amount, after looking at many different studies from Guiya, China to Taizhou, China to Qingyuan, China, is around 4,900 kt/year. Total, for all non OECD countries has b een estimated at roughly 5,023kt/year. The economics of e waste are complicated but what is certain is that developed countries produce the most amount of e waste and then developing countries import the e waste from developed countries to try and make so me money to increase their economies. ###E + @:B*!1F!BM*! G F1B*"! : B@B*: In the United States, e waste is treated as municipal solid waste and can be thrown into landfills or be incinerated. Sixty nine percent of that municipal waste is sent to landfills whil e seven percent of the waste created was sent to incinerators and the remaining twenty four percent of the waste was recycled. Municipal waste can cause air, water and soil pollution, emit greenhouse gases and cause health effects from being put into landf ills or incinerators (Austin, 2013). These effects are even more prominent when disposing of electronic waste because of the

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 14 heavy metals specifically leader and copper, and plastics which can release toxic chemicals when burned or incinerated, contained inside. Over the past few years, there has been a shift in products being sold. Before, more cathode ray tube televisions were being sold, and now the televisions sold are flat panel televisions which have transition from using more lead to usi ng more mercury There is also a shift from computer monitors that use cathode ray tubes to computers monitors that are flat. Cell phones are fairly recent in the sales for technology starting to pick up sales in 2000 however, the EPA has state that there is a tremendous amount of opportunitie s to collect mobile phones. The EPA also conclude s that Americans store a great deal of electronics that they do not want in their storage spaces like basements or garages (EPA, 2011). In 2010, according to the EPA re port released in 2010, almost half of the e waste that gets disposed is computers and monitors. Table 1 shows that c omputers made up 17% of total e waste disposal with 423,000 tons and monitors made up 24% of total disposed e waste with 595,000 tons dispo sed. In addition, both devices had a recycling rate of less than 50%. In total for 2010, only 649,000 tons of e waste were recycled, which consisted of only 27%. TV

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 15 peripherals, such as VCRs, DVD players, cable and satellite receivers, converter boxes and game consoles were not included in this study (EPA, 2010). When e waste is recycled, according to the EPA (2010), 1 million cell phones can recover roughly 50lbs of gold, 550lbs of silver, and 20lbs of platinum. In addition, one ton of mobile phones can retrieve up to $15,000 in precious metals including, but not limited to, silver, gold, palladium, and copper, and when recycling cell phones, reclaiming the aluminum can save 90% of the energy needed to mine for new aluminum. Developed countries, the ones that create the most amount of e waste do not recover these metals because it is considered expensive. Instead, the developed countries send the electronic devices to developing countries where the disassembly of e waste is much cheaper (Joines, 2012). Wealthy countries create and export more electronic waste than poorer countries, who are usually the receivers of the hazardous waste as wealthy countries send their electronic waste. To curb the wealthy countries and their waste disposal to poorer countri es, the Basel Convention was created through the United Nations in 1989 and put into practice in 1992 (UNEP 2011 ). The Basel Convention is composed of 170 countries that have all signed and agreed to monitor their toxic waste and its disposal as it crosse s over international borders. The Basel Convention ensures that the country disposing of its hazardous waste, including electronic waste, is given authorization by the country receiving the waste so that no illegal dumping occurs. In addition, the Basel Co nvention makes countries responsible for disposing of their hazardous waste in the most environmentally friendly way. The United States has signed but not ratified this convention and is thus exempt from the governing laws. This has allowed the United Stat es to ship its electronic waste over to developing nations, commonly China or India, to be recycled or disposed of (UNEP 2011 ).

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 16 The raging growth of technology and need for newer and more advanced electronics, has made the stream of e waste become more ra mpant and prevalent than ever before. E waste is the fastest growing stream of waste because the "global market for PCs is far from saturation and the average lifespan of a PC is rapidly decreasing for instance for CPUs from 4 6 y ears in 1997 to 2 years i n 2005 In 2009, the United States alone created 2.37 million short tons of waste, according to the EPA, with roughly 38% of all e waste collected being computers. 500 million PCs contain approximately 2,872,000 tonnes of plastics, 718,000 tonnes of lead, 1363 tonnes of cadmium and 287 tonnes of mercury. These heavy metals cause enormous health problems in the environment and to human health ( Widmer et al. 2005). #PE 1 6J@DB:!8L! + @:B*!8F!BM*! D8:K:B*6 'E B M*! FH1C8F6*FB! As the e waste disposal grows, it is imp ortant to look at the effects e waste recycling has on the environment. Specifically, it is important to look at the environment and how primitive and informal e waste recycling affects it because the methods used for melting, cutting, and dismantling of t he e waste usually takes place in the open and there is more of a possibility for transportation of heavy metals into the soil, water and biota. Lead (Pb) copper (Cu) and cadmium (Cd) are the three main heavy metals that are the most concern because they persist in the environment for a long time. They are also most likely to be found in plants or in paddy fields due to atmospheric deposition (Luo et al., 2011). India, as a developing country with a rapidly growing GDP also imports large volumes of electronic waste to recycle and extract parts from the United States The country lacks infrastructure and resources to properly extract heavy metals. They rely on mostly informal and primit ive e waste recycling methods that can impact the environment. In addition, India has their

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 17 own e waste that is growing and the country's citizens begin to buy newer technologies and dispose of their old ones. Heavy metals that are released from the primit ive e waste methods are likely to seep into the ground and contaminate the soil and water The heavy metals can also go into the atmosphere when primitive e waste recycling methods are used Plants can then take up the heavy metals; this is especially dang erous for humans if the plants that take in the heavy metals are agricultural crops that are consumed In India, Delhi is a known city where e waste recycling takes place, specifically the Mandoli region. A study was conducted in the North East of Delhi India where five sites were chosen. From those five sites, soil, plant, and water samples were taken and examined. The results shows that from the five sites, it was common to have heavy metal levels in the soil to be extremely high with silver, cadmium, copper, lead, selenium and zinc. Figure 4 refers to the levels of heavy metals in each site from the study conducted in India. The plant samples that had

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 18 also been taken were put through analysis showing that there was a difference in the biology of the p lants that were situated closer to the e waste recycling centers. The data shows that plants were not affected by the arsenic, chromium or selenium too much, but were affected by the other heavy metals Plants can absorb the heavy metals through the roots of the plants and through the atmospher ic deposition. It was shown that the underlying factor in the level of heavy metals in the plants were related distinctly with the level of heavy metals in the soil suggesting that the informal e waste recycling meth ods did have an impact on the plants and their heavy metal levels. In the water samples, it was found that the water was acidic and that the heavy metals in the soils were leaching and contaminating groundwater. The water tested had levels of arsenic (17.0 8mg/kg) copper (115.5 mg/kg) lead (2,645.31mg/kg), and cadmium (1.29mg/kg) that were all extremely high much higher than the World Health Organization's safe drinking water limits. As there is already a scarcity of fresh water in the area, this will cause problems for water resources. All three of the sample types (e.g. soil, wa ter and plant) showed that there is a difference between the samples of residential communities and primitive e waste recycling communities (Pradhan and Kumar, 2014) The large amounts of heavy metal pollution can have a negative impact on the environment E waste recycling towns generally border agricultural sites where the heavy metals in the soil can be absorbed by the crops because the towns that disassemble the electronic goods either make their own food or were primarily agricultural places before th ey started disassembling e waste (Joines, 2012) L evels of heavy metals (e.g. lead, cadmium, polybrominated biphenyls, PBDs, and PCBs) can leach into the crops and increase the risk of contamination of the heavy metals traveling to the consumer. The Guangd ong province of south China engages in primitive e waste recycling with agricultural fields directly adjacent to the e

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 19 waste recycling processes. Their agriculture includes rice, vegetables, and raising fish to eat in the river nearby. Five samples were ta ken from an open e waste incineration cite, a vegetable garden, a paddy field, an area of deserted soil, and a pond area. The samples showed that cadmium, lead, copper and zinc were prevalent although cadmium and copper were the only two that had levels h igher than regulation standards. The pH of the pond was less than 5.5 and at some points in the pond, less than 4.5. T he plants that were screened showed that copper, lead, and zinc showed up in the majority of the wild plants, but cadmium showed up the mo st often in domestic, vegetable stems. Plants that have broad leaves are more likely to absorb more of the heavy metals due to atmospheric deposition. Plants or vegetables that grow quickly can also uptake more heavy metals due to the roots up taking more water. Transfer factor of heavy metals in plants is based on metals that are easily transferrable from the soil to the plant tissue. Cadmium turns out to have a really high transfer rate TF values .038 to 1.258, which is fifty times higher than copper or lead (TF, or transfer factor, is a ratio based on the metals transferring into the plants, mg kg 1 FW from the soil, mg kg 1 DW and copper only had a .002 to .02 TF values while lead only had .001 to .21 TF value ) This suggests that cadmium is the major he avy metal in vegetables that the citizens living near the e waste recycling center need to be concerned about. Because although copper is high in the soils, its uptake in plant roots is very low. For lead, atmospheric deposition is the best way for the met al to reach the plant and get absorbed (it has a similar rate as copper).The rice in the paddy field showed high levels of lead, which suggests that rice grains absorb lead well and the people who have eaten the rice growing in the paddy fields have consum ed some amount of lead (Luo et al., 2011) Primitive e waste recycling is incredibly dangerous to the environment. The heavy metals can be dispersed through atmospheric deposition or through leaching into the soils. If the soils

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 20 become contaminated with th e heavy metals, it is possible that the nearby plants can be affected. This is especially dangerous for the villages that use primitive e waste recycling methods and have agricultural fields nearby. Lead and cadmium are the two elements that seem to show u p the most in foods that people eat. In addition, food can get transported, so the problem becomes more widespread as m o re people get exposed to these high levels of heavy metals. QE M G6@F! M *@IBM! The electronic waste research has been growing in the past years. However, despite this, there is still a great uncertainty as to how breaking down the electronic devices impacts human health. Five databases ( (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, PsycNET, and CINAHL) were examined and it was found that from all of the studies on those databases that were looked at, e waste exposure is harmful, but none of them have actually found a strong enough correlation. Boys in electronic waste recycling towns had a lower forced vital capacity (the ability to force air into the lun gs) than boys who did not grow up in recycling towns. There are more studies that show women having trouble with their pregnancy including premature births, reduced weight births, stillborns and unplanned abortions (Grant et al., 2013). Regulations for he avy metals are divided

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 21 into classes depending on their chronic and acute toxicity to humans. The residues of metals can either be present as the original form of the metal or as a form of the metallic element altered by downstream chemical processing." Ex posure to these metals sho uld not exceed certain amounts. Class 1 metals are metals that contain human carcinogens and harm the health if ingested, inhaled or come into contact with. Table 2 shows the Class exposure to heavy metals and their concentrations that should not be exceeded in parts per million and !g/day for medications PDE stands for permitted daily exposure. For the intake, the acceptable daily intake (ADI) which is used by the World Health Organization (WHO) was added to the table (European Medical Agency, 2007). Guiyu, China has become incredibly notorious for their improper ways of recycling e waste, specifically circuit boards where they burn the plastic to get to some of the precious metals inside. When they burn or melt the plastic, gl ass and metals, it releases toxic chemicals into the air. Samples were taken of freshwater rivers Lianjiang and Nanyang inside and outside of the city to compare and contrast the differences between blood lead levels in the residents. Outside of the city, in the reservoir and in the two rivers, the water quality was described as having low total dissolved solids and a neutral pH. This contrasted sharply with his samples from Guiya that showed a spike in dissolved silver, cadmium, cobalt, copper, nickel and zinc (Wong et al., 2007). In 2004 when samples of the dust were taken from the roads and nearby workshops in Guiya, the samples found higher levels of heavy metals, specifically lead, copper and zinc, throughout the city, with the most concentrated amount s closer to the workshops where they were melting the circuit boards. The toxic particulates get absorbed through the skin inhaled through airborne pathways, or ingested by the humans living there and begin to affect the organs

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 22 after an extended period of time by after continuous exposure to the metals. Having all these high levels of heavy metals causes serious health concerns for the people who live around that particular area because it can cause chronic or acute toxicity that can damage the nervous sys tem or vital organs. Children who have parents that recycled circuit boards had the highest blood lead levels than the children whose parents recycled plastics (Leung, 2008). Children are also more sensitive to e waste chemicals because they can be exposed in many different ways that adults do not usually do. Children are exposed more by different routes and different behaviors. For example, children normally breastfeed when they are young, which adds extra risk to their exposure to heavy metals. Children are also more likely to use their hands to eat and pick up heavy metals through oral ingestion. It not only makes them more prone to get cancer later in their lives but also suffer from respiratory diseases, kidney and liver fail ure and bone loss. In addition, Alzheimer's disease and neurological damage was found to be linked to burning copper wires. Long term exposure to these chemicals can result in peripheral vision loss and damage to the central nervous system (Mulvaney and Ro bbins, 2011). In Guiyu, children six year and under have all been tested for levels of lead in their blood and compared to children outside of the city. Children who live inside Guiyu had a much higher blood lead levels than the children in Chendian (anoth er city in China). Over 81% had blood levels higher than > 10 !g/dL, where the average blood lead level in children in America is roughly 2 !g/dL (New York State Department of Health,

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 23 2009). Researchers have linked the high lead levels in the children's b lood to be from primitive e waste recycling where workers and, in extension, the children, are exposed to the heavy metals from the electronics (Huo et al., 2007). Figure 5 shows a young child in a house in Guiya, China dismantling circuit boards that had been sent over from other countries to be recycled for parts. Behind the child is a pile of discarded electronic equipment that shows just how massive Guiya's e waste recycling production is. The toxicity does not remain in Guiya. Wind patterns in China ha ve blown the dust from the city to other cities where they have seen rises in lead and cadmium level concentrations and cadmium in the body. In Eastern China, Taizhou, it was found that the rice samples had 2 4 times more lead and cadmium in the rice than what was allowed (Robinson, 2007). In addition to having devastating consequences on human health, poor e waste recycling practices have also been shown to hurt ecosystems and the environment. Next to Guiya, China, researchers found fish wish elevated amo unts of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs) that were high due to bioaccumulation in the carp due to the wind blowing the particulate dust across the region into the waters and soils. (Robinson, 2007). It is not just China that has to worry about heavy, toxic metals. In a study conducted that examined jewelry that was made in China and then exported into the United States. It was found that the jewelry contained higher than normal amounts of copper, lead and tin. When circuit boards are heated in pools o f molten solder, which is a popular technique when recycling electronic waste, the copper will move into the solder which is already half lead and half tin. It is suggested that to be opportunistic, the makers take the solder and then create the jewelry fr om that This means that without even realizing it, Americans can be impacted from the primitive e waste methods in China (Weidenhamer and Clement, 2007).

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 24 In India, a study was conducted in Bangalore and Chennai, India to see what the effects of e waste recycling were because India uses the same primitive e waste methods as China. Soil samples and samples from people from both cities were taken for comparison To measure the trace elements in humans, hair was taken and examined. The samples were studied a nd it was found that the Bangalore slums where the e waste recycling was taking place had high levels of heavy metals. Concentrations of trace elements (e.g. copper, lead, chromium, cadmium, zinc etc.) were found in the soil, air and in the hair of the cit izens of Bangalore. The hair of the residents in Bangalore showed substantial amounts of silver and cadmium, noting that the values for mercury were low. Nonetheless, there was still a tremendous difference in hair of the locals in Bangalore and the people of Chennai (Ha et al., 2009) Human health can be severely compromised when using primitive, informal e waste methods. Being exposed to heavy metals constantly can damage the health to not only the adults but to the children in the e waste recycling towns as well. PE + @:B*! 6 @F@O*6*FB!! J C@DB1D*:! 'E + @:B*!1F!BM*! G F1B*"! : B@B*: E wast e in the United States only consists of a one to two percent of the municipal waste volume. In the United States, e waste is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. E waste is exempt from the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), whi ch is a federal law that governs the disposal of solid waste and hazardous wastes because the government does not see e waste as hazardous It can safely go into a landfill without issues because modern landfills are complex enough to handle e waste and le achate ( Vaughn, 2009) Although the EPA strongly encourages citizens to recycle and not dispose of their electronics to the landfills, e waste can be disposed of in landfills since the EPA considers e waste to be non

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 25 hazardous waste or non waste. Specifica lly, the EPA classifies household wastes as non hazardous wastes; this also includes electronics, scrap metal, precious metals and whole circuit boards. While the United States has little to no regulation of e waste, the federal government does monitor th e cathode ray tubes as those are considered hazardous waste (Tonetti, 2007). Most waste in the United States goes into landfills because it is easier to control the pollutants that can emerge from landfills as opposed to incinerators which create toxic air pollution and ash ( Lehmann, 2011 ). Landfills in the United States are usually underground. A layer of plastic, which is usually polyethylene, is put down to keep the contents from percolating into the soil below and polluting the groundwater, then the tra sh is added to the hole where soil is promptly put in place to cover the trash. Having water percolate through the landfill is unavoidable and as it does, the water picks up chemicals and compounds. This is called leachate and is usually collected and sent to a treatment center to be cleaned (El Haggar, 2007). The leaching of heavy metals from electronic waste was tested using actual computers and televisions and monitors with cathode ray tubes put into landfill simulation columns. The experiment found tha t lead from CTRs was most likely to leach out of the landfill and contaminate the ground below. When measuring the amount of lead, researchers found that lead leaches from the CRTS at an average concentration of 18mg/L in toxicity characteristic leaching p rocedure (TCLP), a soil sample extraction method at the EPA standards usually used for hazardous waste. This exceeded 5mg/L which was limit of a waste being classified as hazardous (Li et al., 2009) A study with contradictory results (although that could be because it was done at a different site than the previous) of t he leaching of lead into the ground from landfills was also studied using a similar method of columns with waste in them The authors found that the

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 26 leaching of the le ad from a modern, well engineered landfill would not result in large quantities of lead leachate This was done as a simulation of a landfill in a lab with acid added to aid the leaching process (acid makes the leaching of lead occur more frequently) for a worst case scenario. The lead levels were still below regulatory levels. Electronics were added to manufactured waste and after a year, the fifty samples of leachate were collected with the highest lead concentration being 66!g/L this number is expected to go down in the real world since the acidity levels used in the lab will not likely be present (Spalvins et al., 2008) Problems that make recycling e waste difficult is that the federal government usually leaves it up to the states as to what they want to do so laws tend to vary from state to state (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006) In addition, more problems can occur depending on how the device is made. Manufacturers do not usually make electronics easy to dismantle and for those who recycle the material, t his means that getting to the heavy metal that needs to be recycled or disposed of separately can be extremely challenging. For example, Jaragh and Boushahri (2009) state that televisions that use mercury lamps have to have them taken out because of the me rcury's toxicity level. However, getting to the lamps is a difficult process since the television is held together by different screws or glue and the end result is the recyclers just discarding the whole television into the landfills. In addition, Jaragh and Boushahri claim that the television screens are made up of a certain type of liquid crystal that cannot be recycled and the recommended way of disposing of the crystal screen is to incinerate it. L andfills are the most common way to dispose of e was te because e waste recycling needs certain infrastructure which has the means to actually recycle the material. Since the United States does not have adequate fixed infrastructure for recycling to handle huge volumes of e waste production For instance, th e United States has only a few people employed to recycle

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 27 electronics with only California having a Electronics Waste Recycling Act. However, there is still no single strategy for collecting electronic waste and most of the strategies mainly consist of dro p off areas. In all these cases, the consumer is responsible for the transportation and knowledge of electronic waste recycling. A curbside pick up of e waste is the easiest way for the consumer to dispose of the e waste properly; however, this creates a c ertain amount of risk for theft and abandonment for other waste that isn't e waste. In addition, having people store their electronics damages the probability that it will be recycled since as an electronic ages, the most difficult it is to access the part s and recycle them (Kang and Schoenung, 2005). When recycling the cathode ray tubes, it is common for the CRT glass to be recycled into new CRT glass. This is done by removing the case on the outside of the CRT, then putting the tubes through a depressuri zation stage where it will then go through a shedder to separate the metals and plastics. Once that takes place, the glass goes into the furnace where it will be made into new glass. The other method for recycling CRT glass is the glass to lead method wher e the CRTs are shredded and then plastic and metals are separated. Then it goes through a smelting process where the lead and copper are taken out. However, the downside of this process, while overall cost effective and safer for the workers, requires smel ters, which are a very expensive and rare The scarcity of the smelters could be remedied by building more. The glass to lead recycling method also reduces the quality of the glass that comes out after the process (Kang and Schoenung, 2005). The United States has created ways to dispose of e waste including exporting it to other developing countries, incinerating it, or burying it in a landfill which is monitored by the EPA who states it is allowed. The majority of e waste in the United States does not get recycled or

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 28 reused due to consumers' lack of knowledge and lack of incentives and the lack of e waste recycling services that get offered in the United States. QE + @:B*! C *OGI@B18F!1F!BM*! GC8J*@F! G F18F! R*GS In contrast to the United States an d their weaker legislation on regulation of hazardous waste and e waste, the European Union has taken a strong stand to protect human health and the environment from e waste. The EU has begun to create new legislation to mitigate the harm that electronic w aste can create to monitor the use, recycling and disposal of hazardous waste e waste. Waste Electronic and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) are initiatives that the EU has taken to curb the effects of e waste dis posal. These initiatives were proposed in 2002 and put into effect in January 1, 2003 (Zeng et al., 2013). WEEE was designed to increase the EU's recovery and recycling electronic equipment by using extended producer responsibility (EPR) methods This is d one by putting the responsibility of the electronic on the producer who are the ones who then have to recycle and reuse the electrical equipment. For this to work, the consumer can drop the electronic equipment off free of charge while the producers, the c ompanies, are offered incentives to recycle, reuse, and dispose of the e waste in a safe manner. There are ten categories that e waste can be disposed into. They include: large household appliances, small household appliances, information technology and te lecommunication equipment, consumer equipment, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, toys and leisure, sports equipment, medical devices, monitoring and control devices, and automatic dispensers. Because the EU operates underneath the Basel Convention, they prohibit exporting e waste to developing countries to get the waste out of sight, out of mind (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006)

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 29 According to Black (2005) the EU has also imposed a ban on lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium in elect ronics and as such, now the electronics industry has begun to search for new and alternative alloys for keep the temperature low in electronics without using lead. This is due to the RoHS initiated which directly limits the use of lead, mercury, cadmium an d hexavalent chromium as well as polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006) These six substances are allowed only in a .1% by weight in each device. In addition, the EU also has the regulation, eva luation, and authorization of chemicals (REACH) program It is the program that will evaluate and regulate the risks of chemicals in the electronics including the registration of chemicals that are being imported or produced in the EU. This program is also responsible for regulating any new chemical or substance that wants to be introduced into the EU market for consumers. This program is the largest and most complex environmental law that the EU has ever undertaken (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006) However, th ese laws have been the result of extensive debate and negotiations between the European Commission, European Council and European Parliament and as such, some of the limits had to be waived in order to reach an agreement. Critics have often argued that bec ause some of the limits were rejected and compromised, the law isn't green enough. This, in turn, has led EU members to create stricter rules regarding policy on producers disposing of their e waste properly. Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden ha ve all created harsher laws that regulate hazardous e waste. Sweden, for example, has begun to move to a mercury free society where they ban all products that contain it. In contrast to these countries, the chemical companies have pushed back against the s trict laws of the REACH. They claim that the new laws harm the

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 30 economy and their businesses as the chemical industry is the third largest manufacturing industry in Europe (Selin and VanDeveer, 2006) Furthermore, the European Union will be extending their e waste laws so that each country will be required to collect 45% or more of their electronic products by 2016. After 2019, the initiative will make it so that all members that are part of the EU can either collect 65% of all electronic waste sold or 80% of all electronic waste that was generated with no charge to the consumer. However, an environmental spokesperson in the EU does warn that electronics sold by companies will probably contain a hidden cost to the consumer (Fela, 2012). Cui and Zhang ( 2008 ) have collected data from around the European Union and their methods to reclaim and reuse metals. The authors have reviewed the different processes to get the metals from the electronic devices. E waste recycling gets broken down into three stages: disas sembly, upgrading, and refining. Disassembly consist of the e waste being taken apart for reusable parts and getting the hazardous parts out of the device Mechanical processing is the step that prepares the electronic pieces for the refining process. The refining process is where the materials are gathered and using metallurgical processing To get the best results, the electric waste should be shredded into tiny pieces with a diameter less than 10mm. mechanical processing or metallurgical processing is th e best for getting a full yield of materials, which includes plastics. After the materials have been screened, then the material can be sorted through either electric conductivity, magnetically, or by its shape (Cui and Forssberg, 2003) In the last step, different metallurgic techniques to melt of dissolve the metals. This is done by pyrometallurgical processing and hydrometallurgical processing. Pyrometallurgical processing is the incineration and smelting to remove the extra metals, scraps and plastics. The Noranda process in Quebec, Canada uses the energy created from the melting and combustion of plastics

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 31 and flammable material to help run the smelter. The copper that emerges from the smelter is 99.1% pure with the other .9% representing heavy metals su ch as gold, silver, platinum, and nickel. In Boliden Ltd. Ronnsk ar Smelter, Sweden, materials that have high amounts of copper are put into the Kaldo Furnace. The Kaldo Furnace then produces a copper alloy that can be sent to another converter to get the o ther metals (gold, silver, nickel, selenium, etc.) out of the alloy. The Dunn's patent for gold refining effectively retrieved gold from the electronic device after washing it with hydrochloric acid and the Day's patent for refractory ceramic precious meta ls scraps allowed for the retrieval of platinum and palladium. The hydrometallurgical processing e waste recovery is more precise and easily controlled. Its expected steps consist of acid and leaching (often using cyanide or halide fluorine, chlorine, bro mine or iodine ) of solid material. After that, then the materials get separated and purified. Throughout the whole process, the pH of the acid concentration plays a heavy role as to how much lead and copper can be retrieved from the material. This type of e waste recycling is becoming used less as people have begun to get wary of the use of cyanide. Biometallurgy is an e waste metal reclamation process that has been heavily studied and researched recently. It is the way microbes (algae, bacteria, yeasts and fungi) interact with the metals to either bind metals together or to trasnsport them somewhere else. Bioleaching allows scrap metal concentrations to become available and mobilize from 60% to 90% using bacteria Thiobacilli to help leach the metal. This wo rked best with copper, nickel, zinc and aluminum. Fungi can also leach the metals and the metal waste by creating oxidizers to eventually precipitate out. B iosorption deal s with mostly algae, fungi, and bacteria. This depends on many different factors, such as acidic conditions (favorable for the bacteria). Gold is the most commonly focused on metal and the process uses ion exchange and chemical adsorption onto the cell wall s of the bacteria Out of all of the methods to reclaim e waste metals, biometallurgy has

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 32 the most potential (Cui and Zhang, 2008). Throughout Europe, there are many places where infrastructure is being built to accommodate the growth of e waste disposal safely and the policies governing e waste disposal, the infrastructure will only grow. Despite the European Union's laws, much of the e waste that is produced in the European countries still goes to a landfill or gets exported to a developing country. It is estimated that only a third of the e waste actually gets recycled the rest either still gets exported to developing countries or put into landfills. One aspect of the European Union's e waste recycling program is to curb hazardous and toxic parts, wh ich is the WEEE, RoSH, and the REACH program. The other aspect is the idea of a c ircular economy where electronic devices are monitored, managed, and documented because electronic goods are usable. Circular economy tries to keep the wastes processed as cl ose to the source as possible. Since e waste has so much value, it is argued that the European Union needs to keep the e waste re circulating in their economy instead of sending it out to developing countries (the developing countries are non OECD ) This m eans changing the mindset of the European people into thinking that the contents of their electronic device are important resources or raw resources that recovered to be more efficient (Kama, 2015) The European Union has led the world in many things before and now it is leading the world in legislation on electronic and hazardous wastes. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a concept that the EU has created to make producers of electronics more responsible for the e waste after the consumer is done with it. This is done by changing the responsibility from municipal wastes back to the producers by offering incentives to handle the electronic devices in an environmentally friendly way ( Environmental policy tools and evaluati on 2015) The general goal of Extended Producer Responsibility is to ensure that the products that are created are environmentally friendly and that the electronics are made with high quality materials that have

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 33 been reused or have been retrieved from pla ces that are environmentally sound I ndividual responsibility and collective responsibility is an essential part of EPR programs where the producer will take responsibility of their own products or where the producers in the same product group will collabo rate together no matter the trade name ; however it has been studied and suggested that individual responsibility works best because companies can keep the m aterials within the same cycle ( Van Rossem et al. 2006). Implementing Extended Producer Responsibil ity is more challenging. The incentives for the producers to take extended responsibility were examined The producer's interest in EPR is largely dependent on the benefits that the producers will receive. If there are no incentives and the producers feel they are losing money, they will not want to participate in the EPR system. Parts of the system that can cost money or make EPR less incentivized is stock piling the e waste. This costs money with very litt le to no profit made for them in this step since the producers have to accept the electronic device free of charge. Sometimes, producers will end up trying to bid for their products from third parties if the consumer does not return the electronic device d irectly back to them especially with third party cherry picking where parties get access of the electronic devices before the producers and get the "precious parts" of the waste (Kalimo et al., 2015). Third party e waste collectors are called producer resp onsibility organizations (PRO). These are the organizations disposing of the actual e waste the producers fund them and they can be private or public departments (Surak, 2011). The EPR also has vague statements on what the consumers should be doing. Consu mers have been told that it is discouraged to discard their electrical devices into the municipal waste stream but that they still needed to make appropriate measures to minimize the disposal of electronic waste. To alleviate some of the problems that EPR is experiencing, it would be helpful to spread out the responsibility to others more, as well

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 34 as get move government intervention (Kalimo et al., 2015) Another flaw in EPR is that it does not decrease the volume of e waste being created. It simply tries t o control where the e waste goes after the consumer is finished with it. This means that perceived and planned obsolesce and still a factor (Surak, 2011). The European Union is a leading force of e waste recycling. It has leading methods for methods and e xtraction for reclamation. The EU also has launched policies and regulations to help curb e waste disposal and what happens after the consumer is finished with it. The rest of the world is looking towards Europe and how they deal with e waste including the ir WEEE, REACH, and RoSH policies that establish groundbreaking rules of who takes responsibility of e waste disposal what can be in the electronic devices to begin with, and evaluating the dangers of e waste. 3E D M1F@ T :! J 8I1DK! 1 F1B1@B1H*:! China is a country of particular concern with regards to e waste. Since most of the production of electronics takes place in China and China has a large population of people, they also end up creating a lot of e waste. Like the European Union, China has al so created their own WEEE and RoHS and life cycle programs to try and eliminate or mitigate e waste and stop hazardous wastes from harming human health and the environment in January 2011. They have adapted the slogan "polluter should pay." In China, this means that the disposal of e waste is divided into the distributors making sure that they are collecting and delivering the e waste to the recyclers. The recyclers, in turn, are responsible for reuse, disassembly, and final deposition of e waste. Unlike th e EU, China has a stronger governmental presence. There are more ministries and more government hierarchy, such as the state councils, the provinces and then the country government, in the country than the EU (Zeng et al., 2013). There are currently four g overnment

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 35 agencies that oversee e waste. These agencies include: National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MITT), and finally, Ministry of Finance. The Na tional Development and Reform Commission tackles resource efficiency and environmental protection. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) gives legislation for e waste management and. This program is aimed specifically for dismantling e waste and i ts reuse and disposal. The Ministry of Industry and Information and Technology tries to prevent EEE pollution from the sources as well as trying to curb the use of hazardous materials. This is similar to the RoHS that the European Union has created. The Mi nistry of Finance is responsible for subsidizing for e waste collection and treatment. It has been suggested that the way to get China and its citizens more aware of e waste and its disposal is to invoke the "carrot method" which would create incentives fo r people to not dispose of e waste improperly (Lu et al., 2015). However, because China is still a developing country, recycling and disposing of e waste is second to their economy and its growth so e waste disposal is mostly still using informal and primi tive methods (Veenstra et al., 2010). China's laws that have been created are called "Circular Economy Promotion Law," "Solid Waste Pollution Control Law," and Clean Production Promotion Law." These three laws that have been enacted try and promote cleane r production and try to mitigate the design of an electronic The issue arises when trying to collect e waste and at a regional level (Lu et al., 2015). The development and growth of turning China's e waste disposal from primitive to advanced and safe can be categorized into four steps that can be taken: the informal, primitive recycling of e waste that is illegally imported into China (1980's 2000), the co existing phase where the cities recognize the pollution and harm of primitive e waste recycling and h ave some

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 36 regulations (2001 2008), the development phase where China WEEE regulation and RoHS recovery and recycling processes will be developed and implemented which is where they currently are in the timeline (2009 2020), and, lastly, by 2020, China want s to have the mature phase of e waste disposal in place where they have innovative technology and large scale, official dismantling treatment plants for their e waste (Zeng et al., 2013). In China, after the consumer gets rid of an electronic device the device goes to a street hawker or street peddler, that pays the consumer for the device. After the street hawker takes the electronic device, it is then taken to a collection point where the electronic is traded for money to a secondhand market. The buyers from these secondh and markets can be poor schools, poor families who cannot afford to buy electronics firsthand or villages that recycle and scrap the electronic device. Roughly 21% of all electronics get passed down to another family member in Chi na. While 55% of the electronics get sold to a street hawker and 15% get sold directly to a secondhand market. After the secondhand market, it is estimated that approximately 54.7% of the electronic devices get taken apart for spare parts and raw material while 43% of the devices are refurbished and resold. To model this, Veenstra et al. (2010) uses the Markov chain model. The Markov chain model shows that if the electronic is refurbished or resold to a secondary owner, then the electronic gets delayed from being trashed several years. Overall, the Markov model also guesses that overtime, China's WEEE legislation gets put into effect, there will be an improving ratio in terms of sales to disposa l, meaning that China would have to encourage dealers and retail ers and discourage secondhand markets as high volumes of e waste get disposed of and not reused or recovered It is also projected that there will be an increasing role of dealers in recovering products and since there will be a greater focus on producer responsibility (Veenstra et al. 2010)

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 37 The concern with street peddlers and dealers is lack of knowledge and so they begin to use informal methods of dismantling the electronics to get at the metals, wires, or circuit boards by cutting, heating and melt ing, and recovering the metals. Besides, the street peddlers and street hawkers there is a general lack of public participation In 2004, China created cities specially designed to handle the disposal of e waste. One such city was Haier, China which had a facility that only treated 800 devices when the total annual capacity of the facility had been created to dispose of 6000,000 units. Companies in China began to try and encourage e waste recycling by joining together and collecting the e waste. In 2009, Ch ina launched its "buy a new one with a used one" campaign to get citizens to trade in their home appliances. This allowed China to reach 69.52 million units or 1.52 tons of e waste in 2011. This is causing an economic boom in China as there is a great need and demand for e waste recycling centers through large scale delivery and distribution. To treat e waste, it can be chemical, biological or physical (physical recovery is still the most popular recycling method for e waste since it can take the since it i s the physical break down of the electronic and separating different parts based on physical properties) Public participation is also spurred by the general lack of a collection system in places, there is also the technological challenge. China simply doe s not have all of the resources to effectively treat a lot of the e waste and therefore, many places that recycle e waste are still largely informal without the technology capabilities or the financial resources (Lu et al., 2015) While China still has a long way to go before their laws and their legislation begins to see a large difference, they are still actively trying to mitigate the dangers of having e waste going around the country without regulation. This is a start and by modeling, their laws after the European Union, China will eventually see great success in their control over e waste and their products as most and more e waste gets created. The Markov chain model shows that overtime,

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 38 China's e waste w ill not be as out of control and the sales to disposal ratio will improve. Added to the legislative powers that China's government possesses, the country's e waste disposal dilemma will mend overtime. The economics and rev enue of formal e waste disposal in China is positive and has a great deal of potential There is a huge market niche for reusing and taking certain parts, specifically from electronic home appliances (EHA), from the old electronics in Beijing in a safe and proper manner When looking at a few facilities in Beijing, the time it took to dismantle an electronic was examined as well as the economic feasibility. This was done by separating levels of e waste processing and evaluating how effective they were. Econ omic feasibilities were measured by the profitability of the material after it was extracted from the appliance and the processes of each home appliance. Televisions took roughly 9 minutes to disassemble and take the parts from and refrigerators were note d for being sent to the incinerators the most often. About 70% 90% of the time, the dismantling was done by people and not machines. Overall, the net revenues for dismantling televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines were negative. Computers were th e home electronic that consistently came out with a positive net revenue when dismantled. Because of the net revenues, it was then calculated that if the money paid to the household was decreased even a fraction or if companies paid for part of the e waste disassembly then it would be easier for the facilities to break even When conducting a poll in China it showed that the citizens generally wanted the producer of the electronic device to pay for the cost for e waste recycling (Figure 6 ) However, producers do not want to pay and will resist any additional charges on them, meaning that the burden of baking up the extra cost to recycle the material wil l fall onto the consumer. Most o f the

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 39 citizens agreed that they would not dispute a fee s o long as the fee did not exceed 50 RMB per electronic appliance (Figure 7 ) If those small costs can be chipped into the facilities, then the net revenue of e waste recycling can become more positive and more economically feasible. There is a push to mak e the producers more responsible for the electronic appliance and even if the producers are not willing to foot the bill, then it has been shown that Beijing (and perhaps other parts of China) are ready to tackle the issue of the growing e waste issue. Chi na can change their ways from informal and primitive e waste management to formal e waste recycling and reuse (Liu et al., 2009) When examining the e waste streams in Taizhou researchers found that most of the e waste came from Japan and only 35% of it came from the United States. While Taizhou (and other county towns of district sites like Fengjiang, Wenling and Yuhuan) has some firms that can recycle e waste, it also has many households that take apart e waste for its valuable parts because not only is e waste frequently brought into the city whether through formal ways or informal ways and it is a "low stake" way to make a profit. To encourage safe e waste recycling, China

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 40 will receive twelve dollars and fifty cents to certified recyclers. This amount of money is still creating competition among the formal e waste recycling sector and the informal sector. When asking residents if they would recycle their e waste safely, 60.7% stated they did not see the difference in the price difference that the recycl ers saw if they recycled their e waste safely or not. In addition, 15.8% firmly stated there were similar prices in e waste recycling were the same whether they discarded their electronic devices through formal streams or informal streams. It was concluded from this specific study that the there is a lack of incentive to dispose of e waste in an environmentally friendly way and that the competition between the formal sector and the informal sector are still competitive something that needs to change if Chin a ever wants to stop informal e waste recycling (Chi et al., 2014) A similar study was done in Beijing and it discusses how residents there are also not willing to participate in e waste recycling even if it benefits the environment. The citizens most likely look for an easy way to dispose of their electronic devices and accepting an additional payment for safe recycling has not caught on just yet. People there are still incredibly reluctant to pay more but ultimately would accept the charge if laws and regulations in China changed and forced them to pay. The citizens' reluctance in e waste recycling was also dependant on how easily it is to get recycle the electronic device. As of now, many Beijing residents would like to recycle more but are limited by time and professional recovery spots. In Beijing, it will be important to try and educate its citizens on the pros of safe e waste recycling as well as try and create more structures so that those who want to recycle their electronic dev ices in a proper manner can do so (Wang et al., 2011). E waste is more likely to become properly disposed of in the urban setting as opposed to the rural, small towns like Guiya or Taizhou, China. Taizhou relies on imported e waste to keep its economy steady. In cities like Taizhou, e waste is incredible valua ble because of money it can

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 41 create in the households and is one of the largest e waste recyclers in China. Like most developing countries dismantling e waste, they import it illegally through a nearby port (Chi et al., 2014) In rural areas of China, this is not uncommon. Many jobs are in the urban parts of the country with the exponential population rise and the exponential growth of China's economy, most of the jobs are found in the city or around it. This displaces the people who live in rural areas and formerly dealt with agricultural lands and business to migrate into more industrial areas of the country. T he recent and rapid urbanization has caused many rural areas to convert their agricultural land into industrial development urban construction, and infrastructural projects. These three movements of transitioning the type of land use can also be correlated with land tenure rights and compensation measures, the rural workers' livelihoods as well as environmental degradation. I n 2008 2009, it is estimated that the unemployment rate for migrant workers was around roughly 23 million with only 2 million out of the 14 million workers that had left their rural towns for the cities finding jobs outside of their home town (Siciliano, 2 014) The example given was the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, however, the recycling of e waste parallels that of the residents of the rural towns that dispose of e waste. Being able to disassemble e waste in homes allows for people to continue ma king money without having to travel into the city. It gives them an occupation to make money (Chi et al., 2014) To remedy this, Siciliano (2014) claims that the Chinese government needs to step in and help ease the wage gap between the rural areas and the urban areas, give aid to workers that cannot find work, and help ease the transition process of the displaced better. The Chinese government will need to completely re think their plans for rural development so that e waste mismanagement can become less o f a problem in the rural areas where the residents are just trying to make a livelihood.

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 42 China is a developing country and their policies and legislation on e waste is an enormous step for them. China will need to continue to regulate and monitor e waste as many of their methods are still informal and primitive. They also need to begin to develop more resources in their country for more assessable e waste disposal as well as start encouraging the public to recycle and dispose of their e waste properly. Inc entives need to be given to citizens that discard their e waste in a proper manner and street peddlers and secondhand markets need to be included in the incentives so that the e waste does not find its way to remote places that dismantle e waste inadequate ly. However, once those resources are in place, China should have an easy time reaching their goal of mature e waste disposal infrastructure that can handle large scale recycling processes. 111E : G:B@1F@AI*! : 8IGB18F: As time passes, more electronic equipment w ill be created. It is important to establish clear and rigorous guidelines that countries have to follow globall y developed and developing countries alike Developed countries cannot be exempt from any regulations because those are the countries that are doing most of the disposing of e waste and sending it into developing countries. Developing countries cannot be exempt from regulations because most of the time, those countries lack the infrastructure to safely disassemble the electronic device and avoid putting hazardous metals or substances into the environment that could harm the public. It has to be a joint effort to reduce the impacts e waste disposal can cause. Like the European Union and China and their WEEE, RoHS, and REACH programs and governmenta l agencies, the United States needs to begin to take e waste seriously. This includes making the consumer and the producer aware of the risks in the e waste stream and creating more laws and infrastructure to

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 43 encourage and allow for more e waste recycling and reuse. To do that would mean making the consumer educated in the dangers that improper e waste recycling can have on communities across the globe. This includes making laws and regulations to make people conscious of their waste as well as creating gov ernmental initiatives to help drive e waste recycling. The developing countries like China will have an additional obstacle that they will need to overcome. This will be the migration of rural areas to urban areas due to livelihood loss. The people in the rural areas are at a disadvantage than their urban counterparts in developing countries as they lose parts of their income and the wage gap increases between the two areas. To assuage the desperation of the workers in the rural areas where they dispose of e waste improperly, the Chin ese government will need to offer incentives that are larger than the incentives that the residents have now: disassemble e waste despite the harm to the environment and human health to make a living and support the family. The unemployment rate of rural workers is becoming larger and larger and if the government completely stops the inflow of the electronic devices, then the unemployment will rise as the residents will not have a way of getting an income. Instead of cutting the e waste stream off completely, the government should consider building safe infrastructure so that the residents can dismantle the e waste in a safer way as opposed to doing it in the open and improperly. Sending e waste to landfills simply because the infrastructure is not or not known of cannot be an acceptable excuse anymore. T here cannot be a reason why the United Sta tes does not recycle or reuse e waste and the precious metals inside To encourage recycling and reuse of electronics, the United State s also needs to push to make the producers of the electronics more liable and more accountable for the electronics from cradle to grave. Steps need to be taken so that electronic companies will take the electronic device back and then extract the precious

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 44 metals to be reused in their newer products or have companies join together to collect the same type of e waste, like collector responsibility in the European Union Extended producers responsibility needs to be enacted in the United States to help ensure th at the electronics get disposed of in ways that are safe and beneficial to the environment and the public health. T he United States must also adopt policies to protect the environment and human health. The United States needs to adopt the Basel Conventi on and stop illegally exporting their electronic waste and equipment to developing countries or the United States needs to help fund infrastructure to ensure the safe dismantling of electronic devices if there is reluctance to accept e waste on U S territ ory. In addition, there also needs to be a push to limit perceived obsolescence and planned obsolescence so that people are not trading in their new device or discarding it due to a little broken piece. This includes making the device last longer and makin g the desirability of the device last longer. It is inevitable that new technology will come out with new applications and functions ; however, it should be made aware to the public to either recycle or discard their older electronics properly. This needs t o be done on a federal government level and not just leaving it up to the states. RCRA is a federal law made by the government to oversee waste. This needs to include electronic waste and not just bundle e waste with municipal waste. These steps, if not all of them, need to be executed before e waste becomes more of an issue with rising electronic use and disposal. It is important to create boundaries limitations and incentives early on and get companies, governments, and citizens motivated to recycle e waste properly soon rather than later. If the steps are instituted early on, there will be plenty of room for improvement and growth of policies in the future because there will be an adjustment period

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 45 1HE D 8FDIG:18F:! Electronic waste is a growing concern for the whole world as more and more electronics get created and then disposed of when no longer needed. Advances in technology will greatly boost the amount of e waste that is created Dispo sal of electronic waste nee ds to be closely monitored because of the hazardous, heavy, precious metals that are inside of the devices. Countries need to come to an agreement to help prevent degradation of the environment and public health from improper disposal of e waste. Improper e waste disposal harms not only those who physically have to dismantle the device, but it harms those around the primitive e waste towns either from atmospheric deposition and winds or through food transfer if there is an agricultural farm nea r by the e wa ste smog. The health and environment are compromised greatly around the sites where primitive e waste recycling takes place. This happens in the plants and the crops that are grown and also in the health of the citizens that live there. Citizens are more l ikely to experience respiratory or neurologic damage and so informal e waste recycling methods, while they may bring in a small income for the towns, need to be replaced by formal, safe methods of e waste disposal. To stop this, developed countries needs t o stop exporting their e waste over to developing countries to dispose of. This means that developed countries that have not already signed and ratified the Basel Convention, need to do so. Developing countries need to start enacting laws and legislation that will alleviate the waste exported to developing countries by creating infrastructure and ways to recycle e waste themselves. Consumers need to be aware of e waste recycling options. There also needs to be a shift from the consumer taking initiative to recycle e waste to the federal government and

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Meaghan Owens Undergrad Thesis: Disposal of E waste and Its Impacts on the Ecosystem 46 electronic companies taking imitative to recycle e waste and mitigating the amount of e waste that lands in the landfills or incinerators never to be used again. While landfills may not hurt the environment wh en constructed properly, the resources within the devices are much too valuable to be left in a landfill. Those metals, the valuable and potentially hazardous, need to be taken from the device and reused as close to the source as possibly, employing the ci rcular economy method that the European Union is attempting to execute. But while the disposal of the e waste needs to be re created, there also needs to be a push on the consumers. Consumers need to be persuaded to not buy the new electronic device model that comes out each and every time. Changing the way society views electronics and the metals and plastics inside will greatly decrease the use, and in extension, the amount of e waste disposed of. The consumer needs to be aware exactly how valuable the m aterials in electronic devices are and thus treat and dispose of the device with more caution. The world is changing rapidly and electronics and e waste are incredibly new to this earth. While the health impacts and the environmental impacts are no entire ly clear, it is crucial to recognize that high doses of heavy metals are healthy and policies need to be put into place to curb their unsafe release. E waste can pose a great threat in the future but it does not need to be so if e waste is taken care of re sponsibly now. This is not a one solution fix all problem. It requires effort from the private citizens, the electronic companies, and the governments of developed and developing countries to work cohesively to create a plan to keep e waste from harming hu man health and the environment without wasting the materials inside the device.

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