All about E-Waste Disposal Vol.1
There are three options: take it to a recycling facility (the dump), sell it or give it away. We’ll look at these in turn and then explain how to delete all your data from the hard drive.
Back in 2007, the WEEE directive came into force. You’ve probably not given it one thought since it was all over the news back then, but these days electronics aren’t simply dumped in a landfill.
In theory, you should be able to return electrical or electronic devices to the shop where you bought them, but that’s easier said than done if you bought your laptop online.
The easiest thing to do is to take the computer to your local recycling facility; you can check your council’s website to find out where that is. You can also search for Recycle-More to find local recycling centers. It should then be sent on to a specialist dismantler which will extract any toxic substances from the machine before shredding it or recycling any reusable parts.
What you can’t do is to put a laptop or PC in your household waste. Plus, laptops obviously have batteries which need to be disposed of responsibly. Recycling centers should have dedicated battery sections for precisely this reason.
How to dispose of a laptop or PC: Sell it
Even if you get only a few pounds for your old laptop, it’s a bit of cash towards a new one (or a shiny tablet).
Again, Gumtree is a great place to advertise as it’s completely free to sell a computer. Just be careful and ensure that you don’t post anything out before receiving payment and if you’re doing the deal on your doorstep, that the cash is genuine.
The safest place to sell is eBay. This also has the largest audience, but it will also cost you around 15-20 percent of the sale price in fees (by the time you’ve factored in PayPal fees and the fact that eBay now takes a 10 percent cut of the postage and packing charge as well as the final sale price).
You can also get cash quickly by using an online valuation tool such as Laptops Direct’s scheme which offers up to £300.
How to dispose of a laptop or PC: Personal data
There could be a terrifying amount of sensitive personal data stored on your laptop or PC’s hard drive. Passwords, bank account numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and a whole lot more including browsing histories, bookmarks, and photos.
As long as you control access to your PC while you’re still using it, this is fine. It’s when you decide to dispose of it that it can become a real worry. In fact, dumping old PCs and hard disks is a data-security nightmare.
Fortunately, it’s easy to delete your data. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that emptying the Windows Recycle Bin will do the job. It won’t. Also, a quick format of your hard disk won’t remove the data.
What you need is a dedicated secure erase program, such as Eraser. Our step-by-step guide explains how to use this free utility to permanently delete the data.
You could alternatively remove the hard drive from the laptop or PC and physically destroy it, but this means you can’t sell or give away your computer in a working state.
Article source: techadvisor.co.uk
The world is producing ever more electrical and electronic waste. The quantity of dumped computers, telephones, televisions and appliances doubled between 2009 and 2014, to 42 million tonnes per year globally. Developed countries, especially in North America and Europe, produce the most e-waste.
Much of this waste ends up in the developing world, where regulation is lax. China processed about 70% of the world’s e-waste in 2012; the rest goes to India and other countries in eastern Asia and Africa, including Nigeria. Non-toxic components — such as iron, steel, copper, and gold — are valuable, so are more frequently recycled than toxic ones. Disposal plants release toxic materials, volatile organic chemicals, and heavy metals, which can harm the environment and human health.
Lead levels sampled in the blood of children in the e-waste-processing town of Guiyu, China, were on average three times the safe limit recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In California, peregrine falcons have been threatened — polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which are widely used as flame retardants in electronics, have been discovered in their eggs.
A global approach to managing the volume and flow of e-waste is urgently needed. This requires an international protocol on e-waste; funding for technology transfer; firmer national legislation on imports and exports; and greater awareness of the problem among consumers. Researchers and regulators should build a global e-waste flow system that covers the whole life cycle of electrical goods, including production, usage, disposal, recovery and remanufacturing.
Beyond better recycling, the ultimate aim should be a circular economy of cleaner production and less wasteful consumption, including the embrace of a sharing economy and cloud-based technologies with smaller material footprints. As the world’s largest producer of electronic goods and recipient of the most e-waste, China should take the lead.
Most developed countries have strict regulations governing the disposal of electronic and electrical waste. European countries, the United States and others have official ‘take-back’ systems, which recover and dispose of e-waste in an environmentally friendly way. In 2014, these processed 6.5 million tonnes generated by 4 billion people, recycling valuable materials back into the supply chain. The European Union has two comprehensive directives: the Restriction of Hazardous Substances and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Yet the EU and the United States and Canada dispose domestically of only 40% and 12%, respectively, of the e-waste they generate.
Around half the components in any personal computer contain mercury, arsenic, and chromium — all are toxic. The movement of this waste in and out of countries is not being tracked. The Basel Convention of the United Nations, which concerns the movement of hazardous waste across borders, is meant to prevent developed countries from illegally dumping hazardous waste in developing countries. But only 87 parties — and not the United States — have ratified it. Few developing countries control imports of toxic e-waste: for example, India’s law fails to ban it. This resulted in 50,000 tonnes of such waste from developed countries being dumped in India in 2012. The shady trading of trash as ‘used electronics’ bypasses such laws entirely.
A few developing countries, including China, have made producers responsible for some disposal. Since January 2011, Chinese producers have had to pay disposal fees for five categories of home appliance (televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, and computers). The list grew to 14 in March this year. But the scheme pays only for e-waste processing, not collection — so e-waste is just not collected.
China has 106 enterprises certified by the government as capable of dismantling 100 million defunct home appliances per year. Together, these companies process only 40 million items. The rest is recovered by unskilled peddlers going door-to-door. There are 300,000 such people in Beijing alone. They sell to uncertified disposal plants; these pay higher prices than the certified ones, which have larger overheads. Elsewhere — in Guiyu, for example, or in Agbogbloshie in Ghana— people sift e-waste from household rubbish and sell it for uncertified disposal. In China, this ‘grey’ market is estimated to be worth US$15 billion. Large amounts of government subsidies intended for such disposal lie idle. In 2013, only 630 million yuan (US$94 million) of the 2.81 billion yuan available was spent.
Globally, only 6.5 million tonnes of e-waste (about 15% of the total) were formally reported as disposed of through national take-back systems in 2014. In China, the proportion is 24–30%. The rest is sent either to landfill or to the black market.
The following four steps need to be taken to make e-waste management sustainable.
First, a formal global protocol on e-waste trading needs to be built under the Basel Convention, and the United States must be encouraged to participate. The convention currently covers only the trading of toxic waste; it should be extended to encompass e-waste and second-hand electronic products. Strict criteria must be agreed globally to distinguish products by durability, usability, and safety.
Second, domestic regulations need strengthening and enforcing: those operating illegally should be fined or prosecuted. Developed countries must crack down on defunct products being traded as used ones. Developing countries must ban imports of toxic e-waste. Customs duties on e-waste should be increased.
Third, the United Nations’ Solving the E-waste Problem Initiative must take on many more roles. It should launch a global industry association to certify processing firms that meet agreed legal, technical and environmental criteria. It should encourage the transfer of processing and recycling technology from developed to developing nations. It should create a global e-waste disposal fund to which exporting countries and manufacturers would contribute to each product they sell.
Fourth, consumers’ responsibility for e-waste needs to be enshrined in regulations, taking lessons from Japan. Separate e-waste bins should be provided, with penalties for those who do not use them. Deposit mechanisms could be used when purchasing electrical goods, and people can get the money back when they send their waste to certified collectors.
Article source: nature.com