Street eWaste: 4-8 lbs of LEAD

Some local photographs of eWaste seen on the commute between Grace Church School and home.  Each of these televisions can contain as much as 8 pounds of lead.  Many residents are not aware of the need for proper disposal.

From Mark Weiser of Sierra;

We’ve all heard that TV rots your brain. Most of us keep watching anyway. But what is television doing to our environment?

EACH PICTURE TUBE CONTAINS FOUR TO EIGHT POUNDS OF LEAD, depending on the size of the set. While this protects viewers from harmful X rays, lead mining pollutes creeks, poisons fish, and ravages landscapes–and that’s just to get the metal out of the ground. According to the EPA,

consumer-electronic products account for 40 percent of the lead in landfills. After being dumped, that lead can leach into soil and water. Exposure has been linked to juvenile retardation, hearing impairment, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. TVs also contain other toxic substances: The EPA estimates that electronic devices are now the largest single source of heavy metals–including mercury, barium, and cadmium–in the municipal waste stream.

TO KEEP TVs OUT OF LANDFILLS and divert them to recyclers, where potentially dangerous components like leaded glass can be separated and reused, California and Massachusetts recently classified them as hazardous waste. (The Electronic Industries Alliance lists television recycling locations nationwide at www.eiae.org.) The EPA is considering similar rules. But not all recycling is done right. A recent report by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (www.svtc.org) and the Basel Action Network (www.ban.org) indicates that more than 50 percent of electronic waste collected for recycling is processed in developing countries, under largely unregulated conditions. The report documented open burning of plastics and wires, river dumping, and other environmental and health dangers, leading the groups to call for a ban on the export of all hazardous wastes.

TVs ARE ONE OF THE BIGGEST POWER HOGS in most homes, eating more electricity annually than microwave ovens and three times more than dishwashers. Worse yet, TVs top the list of “standby” consumers, appliances that suck electricity even when switched off, (About half of all energy used by stereo systems, VCRs, and television sets is devoted to standby mode.) America’s televisions draw enough standby power each year to light 5 million homes. Generating this power creates 1 million tons of carbon emissions. Save energy by unplugging the set or turning off the power strip when you’re not channel surfing.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Community, eWaste, Recycling

One Comment on “Street eWaste: 4-8 lbs of LEAD”

  1. Francesca Says:

    when evr i walk down the street i see garbage and ewaste and all sorts of things on the street


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