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Electronic Waste: Table of Contents

Welcome to the Electronic Waste Topic Hub™, a guide to basic information with links to additional on-line resources.

Background and Overview - Electronic waste concerns the volume of computers and related electronic equipment improperly disposed of in municipal landfills, and the toxicity of both the computer chip manufacturing process and the computer and CRT itself as a waste product. Electronic wastes include TV's, video and computer monitors which use cathode ray tubes (CRT's) containing lead. Printer wiring boards (PWB's) contain plastic and copper, plus some chromium, lead solder, nickel and zinc. Electronic products often have batteries which contain nickel, cadmium, and other heavy metal. Relays and switches may contain mercury. All these pose environmental risks if incinerated or landfilled.

Plastics - The Plastics Industry has become aware of the problems of electronic waste, they are now looking at the following: Mandating low levels of plastics of concern in manufacturing and assembly, avoiding chlorinated or brominated flame retardants. Use non-halogenated flame retardants or equipment designed using self-extinguishing base. Determining what markets can use the plastics found in consumer electronics, what value plastics have to those markets, and the level and complexity of separation that is necessary to get plastics into a form in which they can be used are problems of recycling concern. This section will provide you with current plastic e-waste information. Please feel free to browse.

Toxic Materials - Electronic waste already constitutes a large percentage of the US municipal solid waste stream and is rising every year. Lead, mercury, cadmium, and polybrominated flame retardants are all persistent, bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs) that can create environmental and health risks when computers are manufactured, incinerated, landfilled, or melted down during recycling.

CRT'S - Electronic waste increases the need for effective and environmentally friendly methods of dispensing CRT'S and other Electronic wastes. This section will provide information on current and defining issues for E-Waste.

Legislation - The stream of Waste from Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) contributes significantly to the heavy metals and halogenated substances contained in the municipal waste stream.(28) Because of the variety of different substances found together in electroscrap, incineration is particularly dangerous. For instance, copper is a catalyst for dioxin formation when flame-retardants are incinerated. This is of particular concern as the incineration of brominated flame retardants at a low temperature (600-800°C) may lead to the generation of extremely toxic polybrominated dioxins (PBDDs) and furans (PBDFs). This secion provides current issues in Legislation.

Policies - That the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco introduce and support legislation requiring computer and electronics producers to operate or fund comprehensive extended producer responsibility programs whereby products are sustainably designed and labeled, consumers receive a financial incentive for proper disposal, a convenient collection infrastructure yielding a high rate of recovery is created and environmentally sound reuse followed by recycling is maximized. This section will have current information on major policies affecting electonic waste.

Case Studies - Pollution prevention is the use of materials, processes, or practices that reduce, minimize, or eliminate the creation of pollutants or wastes at the source. Pollution-prevention technologies in manufacturing include materials substitution, process modification, materials reuse within existing processes, materials recycling to a secondary process, and materials reuse within a different process. Information includes case studies, success stories, waste reduction guides, and technical assistance provider contacts.

Where To Go for Help - This link will provide you with local and national contacts

Complete List of Links - Lists all resources cataloged in this hub. If you know of resources relating to this topic, please let us know. We will review all suggestions and include them in the hub if they provide non-biased information not currently covered.

Topic Hub™ Last Updated: 07/31/2006
This Topic Hub is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2RX)™
The Electronic Waste Topic Hub was developed by:
Western Regional Pollution Prevention Network
Western Regional Pollution Prevention Network
Contact email:webmaster@westp2net.org

Peaks to Prairies is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange™, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WRPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).