Electronic Waste By Jake McCrary Overview • What is electronic waste? • Why is it a problem? • What is being done about e-waste? • Lead vs. Lead free What is electronic waste? • American definition – Anything with a PCB or slightly complicated electronic components • European – Anything with a plug Electronic Waste • More than 4.6 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste) was produced in the US in the year 2000 [Bhuie] • In Europe, quantity of e-waste increases 3 to 5% a year [Bhuie] – 3 times larger growth than other waste growth Why is e-waste becoming a big deal? • Electronics are becoming more and more a part of everyday life • Embedded systems are every place – Microwaves, printers, key fobs, cars, appliances, cell phones Why is e-waste becoming a big deal? • Electronics becoming disposable • Cell phones – Life span is about 1.5 years now – 130 million are retired a year – Over 500 million are stockpiled [Bhuie] • Computers – 20 million retired a year – 240 million already stockpiled [Bhuie] • Estimated that for every new cell phone or computer one becomes obsolete [Bhuie] Why is it a problem? • Hazardous materials found in electronics – Examples: Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Nickel, Zinc, Antimony, Lead – Can cause damage to brain, lungs, and other organs – Lead especially toxic to developing children [Jackson] Other Hazardous Materials • Hazardous materials not only found in electronic components • Toxins are found in the plastics – Brominated flame-retardants (BFR) added to plastics to reduce chance of fire – Damage to sexual development and growth attributed to some BFRs [Jackson] What is being done? • Recycling programs • Many programs try to refurbish and sell old equipment • Programs in place to mine precious metals from old equipment Examples of Recycling • Computer companies have started recycling programs – Some charge fee – Some give customers rebates on new products • Cell Phone recycling – Largest programs are Verizon’s Hopeline and Wireless Foundation’s Donate-a-Phone programs Cell Phone vs. PC • Cell phone recycling much more successful than PC – Costs 12 to 30 dollars to refurbish cell phones – Refurbished cell phone worth 40 to 50 dollars – 70% of cell phones refurbished [Bhuie] • PC – 10% recycled – Costs 13 to 34 dollars – Lack of refurbished market [Bhuie] Cost Comparison for Collecting and Processing of Cell Phone and PC Cost (US $) Cell Phone PC Collection 6.00 23.50 Transportation 0.35 0.43 Sorting - 3.50 Dismantling 0.03 2.75 Refining 0.32 7.87 Disposal of non-hazardous Disposal of hazardous 0.01 0.83 0.03 5.00 Bhuie, A. K., O. A. Ogunseitan, et al. (2004). Exporting Waste • High cost of labor for recycling • Outsource to China – Cheap labor – Laws are less strict • City of Guiyu: e-waste hub of world – Drinking water has to be brought in [Johnston] – Horrible working conditions [Grossman] – Studies show problems in workers from recycling [Grossman] Guiyu Natalie Behring, www.nataliebehring.com Guiyu Natalie Behring, www.nataliebehring.com Guiyu Natalie Behring, www.nataliebehring.com China and E-waste • There is a lot of money to be had processing electronic waste • Chinese government trying to come up with system • Laws have been passed • Electronics companies taking some responsibility in making sure waste handled properly [Johnston] UNICOR • Poor conditions not only overseas • Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) run electronic waste processing in prisons [Jackson] • Workers are in unsafe environments [Jackson] • Negatively affects legitimate recyclers by undercutting on price [Jackson] Legitimate Recyclers • Some take old equipment and pass on to schools and nonprofits • Others mine for metals – 30 to 50% circuit is made of metal [Grossman] • 950 e-waste processors in North America – 400 to 500 in the United States [Grossman] • 700 million dollar industry in 2003 [Grossman] • Estimated that by 2010 the industry will have $3.5 billion dollars in revenue [Grossman] What about Europe? • Two directives have been passed – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) – Restrictions of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) • Move responsibility of end of life impact to producer (“producer responsibility”) [Tetra Tech] Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) • Producers responsible for collection, treatment, and disposal of e-waste [Tetra Tech] • Logos must be placed on products alerting customers not to throw away in normal trash [Tetra Tech] • Provide list of materials in products to recyclers [Tetra Tech] Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) • The name is fitting • Restricts: – Lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, cadmium, and some brominated flame retardants [Tetra Tech] – If there is no alternative you can use the above • Every 4 years review to see if you can stop using restricted substance [Grossman] RoHS • Has a large impact on electronics [Mueller] • Lead is used in practically everything • Getting rid of lead clearly makes end of life better [Mueller] • Yet some environmentalists are opposed to lead ban Lead vs. Lead free • SnAgCu is common replacement to SnPb • US EPA finds that SnAgCu has greater environmental impact on: – – – – – Non-renewable resources Energy use Water Quality Ozone depletion Global Warming • Per 1000 cc of solder, lead free uses an energy equivalent of 162 gallons more of gasoline [United States EPA] Lead Free • Increased environmental impact comes from material and process related issues [United States EPA; Mueller] • Metals used are more costly to extract [Mueller] • Melting point is higher which results in more energy use [Mueller] • Tin based solders form whiskers [Mueller] Why would anyone want to move to lead free? • Improvements cannot be made to impact of lead at end of life • Processes used to produce and use lead free solder could be improved • Forcing lead free could force companies to come up with recycling friendly designs to reduce cost Review • Electronics are becoming more and more of part of everyday life • New legislature is forcing electronic industry to pay attention to environmental impact • It is unsure if such laws are beneficial References • Tetra Tech. (2005). "Factsheet: WEEE and RoHS Directives." Retrieved 10/21, 2006, from http://www.mdsmap.com/en/pdf/weee%20rohs%20directive%20factsheet.pdf. • Bhuie, A. K., O. A. Ogunseitan, et al. (2004). Environmental and economic trade-offs in consumer electronic products recycling: a case study of cell phones and computers. Electronics and the Environment, 2004. Conference Record. 2004 IEEE International Symposium on, 10-13 May 2004, Page(s): 74 – 79 • Grossman, E. (2006). High tech trash: digital devices, hidden toxics, and human health. Washington, Island Press/Shearwater Books. • Jackson, A. S., A. Shuman, et al. (2006). "Toxic Sweatshops: How UNICOR Prison Recycling Harms Workers, Communities, the Environment, and the Recycling Industry." Retrieved 10/22, 2006, from http://www.computertakeback.com/docUploads/ToxicSweatshops.pdf. • Johnston, B. R. (2003). "The Political Ecology of Water: An Introduction " Capitalism, nature, socialism 14(3): 73 - 90. • Mueller, J., H. Griese, et al. (2005). Transition to lead free soldering - a great change for a better understanding of materials and processes and green electronics. • United States. Environmental Protection Agency. (2005). "Solders in electronics a life-cycle assessment." Retrieved 10/20, 2006, from http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/dfe/pubs/solder/lca/lfs-lcafinal.pdf.