Recycle, incinerate or landfill? What are the best options for electronic goods? Notes

More notes on this paper: here


When an electronic item is recycled in America, it either becomes shredded and sorted into mineral feedstock or it is exported (without consumers knowing) to other countries where it is scavenged for pieces in extremely unsafe ways that are both damaging to human health and the environment. Seeing as how bad the exporting option is, I have thought about what happens if it does just end up in landfills? Would it be that bad? Answer is yes – it would be bad. I don’t know if it’s worse than exporting to countries with lax labor and environmental laws, but it’s pretty bad. If e-waste was in landfill there are many potentially harmful substances that could leach through into the ground or evaporate into the atmosphere. Electrical products account for 40% of the lead found in landfills.

Which is the lesser of the two evils – landfill or incineration?

Incineration saves space but the pollution that incineration produces is harmful. The pollution that incinerators produce especially when harmful materials like Lead and Mercury are burnt which is the case in e-waste. Most of the chemicals are toxic and harmful in nature and also contain heavy metals. Incinerators are more harmful than the exhaust coming from cars because the low concentration of metals emitted by incinerators is very toxic for metals such as Cadmium. The smaller the size of particles the more harmful it is to human health.