A file-transfer system developed in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has allowed recyclers to trace the origin of toxic plastic goods and devices, including mobile phones and electric motors.
The amount of e-waste is increasing rapidly across the world, with e-consumers creating the vast majority. Most e-waste is sent to countries in the Asia-Pacific, particularly China. One way that some regions are trying to fight against this problem is by promoting the production and recycling of recycled plastic waste.
Chennai, a city in southern India, leads the region in plastic recycling. The city has recently set up a local electronic waste collection and recycling center, where more than 200 small and medium size enterprises recycle both electronic devices and small industrial waste.
According to an India-based environmental association, nearly 33 million mobile phones are collected and disposed of every year, more than any other kind of waste. The association reported that in the year 2000, about 24 million mobile phones were discarded, with an average usage of about seven years. In 2011, the consumption of mobile phones increased to 70 million units, and the average usage period was over 16 years.
This makes e-waste a complex issue that has far-reaching consequences for the environment and society, as new electronic devices require new parts to be manufactured. Already, e-waste accounted for three percent of the world’s total waste in 2011. That’s about 50 million tons.
The report also highlighted the amount of hazardous chemicals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury, which are found in e-waste. It also cited various hazardous waste streams, such as lead, mercury, zinc, and nickel, that can pose serious health hazards to people in the workplace, and the environment.
Planned obsolescence is in great part responsible for the sharp increase in the world’s electronic waste problem.
The device wasn’t designed to be used over a longer lifespan. It’s also one reason computer users never know exactly how much time they’ll be using them.
Experts at the UK’s Computer Investigation Unit are trying to get more people to embrace computers that are designed to last for years and not hours.
“Unlike other things, computers don’t make a big bang when they’re turned off,” says Dr Jeremy Earp, one of the unit’s detectives.
“You don’t hear them crunch, you just see a dark screen, but then you turn it on and it’s there. You’re still going to have the things for years and years, it’s just like your smartphone, except you’ll probably get more calls to your phone.”
It’s impossible to know what the future holds.
“Just think of that laptop you’re sitting on. It may come to you in the future, like a message in a bottle, but we’re not going to find it,” says Dr Earp.
In any case, we’re always seemingly looking to upgrade any chance we get, seeking certain features. If you’re searching for an online casino PayPal is the payment processor you’d prefer, for instance, to form part of that platform’s funding and withdrawal mechanism. It’s not so much about the device on which you’d be playing.