Electronic Waste: A Growing International Problem

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Background:

Electronic waste is a growing international problem that is affecting millions of people in developing countries. The United States is the biggest culprit exporting old, obsolete, and broken electronics to developing countries. One problem with the electronic recycling program in the United States is often, when people drop off their old electronics to companies for recycling, many companies find it more cost effective to transport the waste for money, sending it to third world countries where labor is cheap, and where a profit can be made for both the companies and individuals in developing countries. Developing nations such as China, India, and Ghana hold the largest digital dumping grounds in the world. Hundreds of millions of tons of electronics are shipped and processed in homes, backyards, and large open fields. In her article, Environmental policy analysis, Luther, states Proliferation of and increasingly rapid technological advances in electronics mean that the volume of e-waste generated in the United States is large and growing. Data regarding electronic products sold, stored, recycled, and disposed of are limited. However, in 2008, EPA completed a study that attempted to gather more current data. According to that study, in 2007, of the 2.25 million tons of televisions, cell phones and computer products ready for end-of-life (EOL) management, 18% (414,000 tons) were collected for recycling and 82% (1.84 million tons) were disposed of, primarily in

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