Mar 30 - Developing Countries Piled Up in E-waste

E-waste has become a growing problem in the country and in California, most consumer electronic products are banned from being disposed into landfills. Even so, tons of e-waste ends up in developing nations. Most electronic waste contains hazardous materials and such materials can seep into the ground or be released as toxins into the air if the materials are incinerated. Such is the case in India and China, where the Basel Action Network estimates 75 to 80 percent of unwanted e-waste ends up according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle. Under California's E-waste Recycling Law, recyclers are prohibited from exporting unprocessed devices to developing countries. Anuj Chopra of reports.

"High-tech companies do more than just sweep e-waste under the rug. They are sending it across the world in violation of international laws enacted to protect poor nations from the excesses of the world's wealthiest," said Ted Smith, founder of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. "Every new generation of technology ... sends zillions more of our computers and TVs to global trash heaps."

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Microsoft's new operating system launched in January -- Windows Vista -- will make many older machines obsolete and create a "tsunami of e-waste" exported to developing nations, according to Jim Puckett, coordinator for the Basel Action Network.

"Much of stuff that is exported and turns up in India and China comes from local and state governments that are looking for the cheapest way to recycle," said Sheila Davis, executive director of Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. "And there is a lot of material generated by multinational companies other than computer companies."

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The article also mentions that electronics companies need to create greener electronics by creating products with less hazardous substances, while also taking responsibility for them when they become obsolete.

This year, CAW is again sponsoring legislation that would require manufacturers to phase out the use of hazardous materials in virtually all consumer electronics. AB 48 (Saldaña), which shadows the progress of the EU RoHS Directive, will prohibit the sale of these electronic devices.

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