Electronic Waste Segregation

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Electronic waste (E-waste) has become an emerging global environmental issue. It is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world and it can be considerably hazardous. In developed countries, it equals 1% of total solid waste on an average. UNEP estimates that 20-50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated around the world every year, which is more than 5% of the total municipal solid waste stream, and nearly the same amount as all the plastic packaging (UNEP, 2005). The e-waste stream is also estimated to increase by 3-5% every year, which is nearly three times faster than the municipal waste streams’ general growth (Arensman, 2000). This is a result of our constant desire for newer and more efficient technology, as well as the intense…show more content…
In the United States, this “hidden flow” is even larger, accounting for about 80% of all the e-waste generated (USEPA, 2007), and in some developing nations, like India, it may account for more than 99% of the total e-waste flow (Cobbing, 2008). The fate of this “lost” waste is not very clear, although it is known that a large part of it end up in developing countries, where it is recycled under very primitive conditions. The rest is probably stored in homes, put on landfills and incinerated in municipal solid waste incineration facilities. In addition, it is known that even some of the collected e-waste described above, through inscrutable ways, eventually finds its way to the recycling areas in the developing world, making the hidden flow even larger (Puckett et al., 2002). Only a small part (around 10%) of the e-waste generated in the world is thus being recycled in adequate facilities (LaDou et al., 2008; Cobbing, 2008). Some of these facilities are very efficient and may recover up to 80% of the materials in the e-waste, while another 15% can be used for energy production through incineration. Only 5% of the material thus finishes as waste in these facilities (LaDou et al., 2008). It is possible that the fraction of e-waste that is recycled properly will increase in the coming years, as a…show more content…
The advent of lower prices for many electrical goods has caused an increase in global demand for many products that eventually end up as electronic waste. Computer devices constitute only a part of the electronic waste stream. As shown in United Nations University Review report of 2007, batteries, fridges and other cooling and freezing appliances, as well as household appliances, accounted for 44% of total e-waste (United Nations University (UNU),
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