Electronic Waste

What is E-Waste?

Electronic waste (or e-waste) includes any used, unwanted electrical or electronic devices. Though most e-waste can be recycled or reused in some way, e-waste currently makes up around 70% of the toxic waste found in dumps.

Tufts complies with Massachusetts regulation of e-waste, which bans large electronic appliances from landfills. Tufts also partners with Allied Computer Brokers, Inc. to recycle all kinds of e-waste and electronic media, including small electronic or battery-powered devices, cell phones, charges and cables (“anything with a cord”) and computer parts.

These can be placed in e-waste buckets located around campus in Medford, Boston, and Grafton (click for locations). If you are a Tufts faculty or staff member and you have electronic devices which need to be recycled, please fill out a work order to have them picked up.

Additionally, you can recycle your electronics through the manufacturer or retailer. Click below for more detailed information:

(Credit: Wall Street Journal)

Why Recycle E-Waste?

Electronic devices contain extremely hazardous materials, including lead, mercury and cadmium. These chemicals can leach into the soil when they’re disposed of in landfills, impacting the health of plants and animals and leading to respiratory problems in humans when inhaled. Most e-waste produced in the U.S. ends up landfills and dumps in developing countries, particularly in China, India and Ghana. Some of the e-waste that ends up in these countries is exported illegally from Europe in the U.S.

A Chinese child sits in an e-waste dump. Via Greenpeace.org

Greenpeace reports that unprotected workers, many of them children, dismantle computers and TVs in order to obtain the metals that can be sold. The remaining materials are then burnt or dumped, and some of these materials contain toxic metals, including lead, in fatally high quantities. Many of the chemicals and metals are known to harm sexual reproduction and to cause cancer.

Links:
https://ejoltdocumentaries.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/electronic-waste-in-ghana/

Click here to read blog posts about electronics recycling.

Why You Should Care if Your E-Recycler is Certified, Leah Blunt, Earth 911