A typical building usually generates close to one ton of e-waste every few months. Because of the toxic components of many electronics, responsible recycling of e-waste is crucial. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. (Related: Clearing backlogs of e-waste)
Where does your office e-waste end up?
Some of the world’s e-waste is dumped in poor countries, in places the Agbogbloshie recycler’s market in Ghana.
Here, men, women and children live off e-waste, which they break up by hand and burn to extract valuable components like copper. In the process, toxic metals and fumes leak out and contaminate the ground, air, and water, and also livestock and food… poisoning all present.
Video 1 below was put together by Dr. Jack Caravanos, who works with the nonprofit Pure Earth.
Video 2 is a news story showing one of the solutions being tested in Agbogbloshie, where wire stripping methods are being introduced so that the e-waste recyclers do not have to burn e-waste like wires to extract valuable components.
Video 1: No audio, 3:43 mins.
Video 2: News story, 1:59 mins.