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How to (properly) get rid of all your e-waste

Mashable: “…“Globally, e-waste is the most traded hazardous waste on the planet,” Jim Puckett, the executive director of the Basel Action Network (BAN) said. BAN is an electronics recycling watchdog organization that monitors where electronic waste ends up after being “recycled.” Unfortunately, all too often, e-waste from affluent countries like the U.S. gets shipped offshore to third-world countries, to facilities that reclaim materials like steel and aluminum in order to sell it — at great cost to worker health and the planet. “It’s very crude, very damaging to human health, [this] so-called ‘recycling,’ Puckett said. “They are trying to get commodities like steel, etc., but they’re not taking care to do it properly.” Substances in electronics like mercury, lead, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants need to be carefully removed from electronics and disposed of as hazardous waste. Only then can the rest of the materials in recycled electronics be accessed safely. When done right, this process is complicated and expensive. So some recycling operations in third-world countries with fewer environmental and workplace protection laws and enforcement cut corners for the sake of profit….Luckily, Puckett reassured me that there is a solution. BAN has a newly strengthened certification called the E-Stewards certification, which it awards to recyclers who don’t send recycling overseas to “smash and bash” operations. Puckett also recommends checking out Greenpeace’s electronics report card, as well as the organization EPEAT, to see which organizations use the most reclaimed materials while making electronics in the first place. I was excited to learn that according to both organizations, Apple’s iPhone beats out almost all other manufacturers, although its “green” processes certainly still have their flaws…:

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