How Dallas E-Waste Processing Helps Combat A World-Wide Problem

By Jocelyn Davidson

The ongoing evolution of personal electronic devices guarantees obsolescence. Even the most hyped new products routinely up in the attic with the old flip phones, portable CD players and boxy personal computers from the past, creating a significant disposal problem. Dallas e-waste processing helps consumers responsibly recycle the average twenty pounds of electronic garbage that each person generates yearly.

Toxic materials are an important part of computer-based technologies. Prior to the introduction of flat-screen displays, massively heavy cathode-ray tubes included barium, a poisonous metal also used in automobile and lighting manufacturing. Circuit boards commonly contain cadmium, potentially harmful to kidneys and bones. Mercury, chromium, and even lead are other lethal metal components, often framed in plastics resistant to decay or flame.

Even though most buyers are aware of the critical need for recycling, the accumulating mountain of electronic by-products shows no sign of diminishing world-wide. Many countries have no official disposal policy, and even the environmentally progressive European Union accounts for only one-quarter of its own total. In the United States, figures are lower, and in some cases waste is profitably exported to Asian or African countries for metal extraction.

Ideally, manufacturers would take responsibility for recycling their own products, and steps are being taken to make that a reality. Computer equipment and television product makers must now offer free recycling services for their customers in Texas as well as several other states, and are also responsible for creating public awareness of these programs. While most participate, some insist this is a consumer issue only.

Even those who make an effort to safely dispose of old equipment have little idea of its final destination. In many areas neighborhood collection events are becoming popular, and some local businesses offer free pickup. Charitable organizations solicit old computers for re-purposing in schools or churches. In some cases equipment is simply sent to destination countries battling their own waste issues, and disassembled by workers enjoying few protections.

After the old electronics are gone, there is little real assurance that they will not become a part of a foreign landfill. Some of the destination countries willingly trade environmental issues for hard currency and the chance to escape poverty. Those generating the most electronic detritus often choose solutions that are profitable in the short term, but may cause more serious issues for future generations.

Some companies have become certified by independent agencies in an effort to reflect the seriousness of their intentions. Many states administer fines for ignoring current regulations, but there are no uniform national rules governing electronic waste processing. The growth of programs that collect raw electronic materials makes it very simple for people to get rid of old equipment, but employs few controls over the final destination.

People living in Austin and other Texas municipalities increasingly turn to recycling companies who are willingly transparent regarding their own processes. Some companies have begun maintaining detailed tracking systems that follow materials from beginning to end, including the destination country. This not only helps control pollution, but also reduces health hazards for the people dependent on that work for survival.

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