Which one of the following is an example of e-waste?

E-waste examples

In addition to the environmental and health imperatives associated with the responsible disposal of e-waste, it makes economic sense. E-waste is another source of base metals and noble metals, making it a valuable commodity. (Photo: Panos/Jacob Silberberg).

Unlike other types of municipal waste, e-waste contains a complex mixture of hazardous and highly toxic materials and economically valuable noble metals. Given that up to 60 elements of the periodic table can be found in complex electronic devices, sophisticated treatment technologies are needed to recover as many of these valuable resources as possible, while minimizing negative social or environmental impacts. This presents challenges for recyclers, but also opportunities.

In order to better understand the technologies available for e-waste recycling and recovery, and as part of its efforts to promote environmentally sound disposal and recycling of e-waste, the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal recently requested WIPO’s support for the preparation of a report analyzing patenting activity in the field of e-waste technologies.

What to do with electronic waste

Obsolete electronic equipment.Electronic scrap, e-waste or technology waste is the trash from discarded electrical or electronic devices. Used electronic products that are destined for refurbishment, reuse, resale, salvage recycling through material recovery or disposal are also considered e-waste.

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The Basel Convention defines electronic scrap as any electronic equipment or component incapable of fulfilling the task for which it was originally invented and produced.[3] The Basel Convention defines electronic scrap as any electronic equipment or component that is incapable of fulfilling the task for which it was originally invented and produced.

These hazardous substances generate pollution and expose workers in the manufacture of these products; also the placement of this type of waste in the trash, or within reach of the hands of cartoneros, is putting at risk the health of people and the environment, because they contain hazardous components such as lead in cathode ray tubes and solder, arsenic in older cathode ray tubes, fire retardant antimony trioxide, etc.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

There are already conventions to address this situation, such as the Basel Convention in 1989, which is an agreement signed by 170 nations, with an international regulation that contains guidelines on the treatment of electronic waste. Developed countries must inform developing nations of the arrival of hazardous waste shipments, but unfortunately this does not happen.

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In large cities, only 11% of the electronic material generated is recycled, compared to 28% of other types or classes of waste; the rest ends up in landfills and, consequently, lead, cadmium and mercury leach into groundwater, although it is not known to what extent. The adverse effects associated with such substances in industry have been studied and are widely documented in the scientific literature. Twelve substances known as persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, have been identified. Mexico, Norway and the European Union have proposed others, such as lindane, pentabromodiphenyl ether and hexabromobiphenyl, for review by the POPs Review Committee, a subsidiary body of the Convention, of which Mexico is a member through the National Institute of Ecology (INE) of the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT).

Environmental impact of e-waste

The volume of e-waste produced worldwide and the poor management of its recycling endanger the environment. Among the most common substances contained in this waste are elements such as cadmium, lead, lead oxide, antimony, nickel and mercury. These toxic elements pollute rivers, lakes and seas, and emit gases into the atmosphere that cause imbalances in ecosystems. Reversing the production and consumption model to reduce the amount of e-waste is therefore an urgent task.

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“E-waste is the fastest growing type of waste in the world,” says Peter Bakker, president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Against this backdrop, action is urgently needed. Here are some of them:

Experts in electronic recycling recommend that friends or relatives inherit devices that still work, or that they be offered on the second-hand market. There is also the possibility of donating the product to a specialized NGO.