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What should apple (and friends) do about e-waste?

A lot filled with computers and other old electronics is shown here.
A parking lot filled with electronic waste, known as e-waste. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Environmental Command/flickr)

Electronic waste, or e-waste, is one of the fastest growing segments of garbage. And it is far more problematic than even the mountains of broken plastic and rusty metal that plague the environment. E-waste is the name for obsolete, broken, and worn-out electronics—from computers to mobile phones to televisions. The challenge is that these products, which are multiplying at alarming rates thanks in part to planned obsolescence (the designing of products to quickly become outdated and then be replaced by the constant emergence of newer and cheaper electronics), have toxic chemicals and precious metals in them, which makes for a dangerous combination.

So where do they go? Many companies ship their e-waste to developing nations in Africa and Asia to be “recycled.” While they are, in some senses, recycled, the result is not exactly clean. In fact, it is one of the dirtiest jobs around. Overseas, without the benefit of environmental regulation, e-waste dumps become a kind of boomtown for entrepreneurs willing to sort through endless stacks of broken-down electronics for tiny bits of valuable copper, silver, and other precious metals. Unfortunately, in their hunt, these workers are exposed to deadly toxins.

Governments are beginning to take notice of the impending disaster, and the European Union, as well as the state of California, put stricter regulations in place. These regulations both limit the amount of toxins allowed in electronics and address the issue of end-of-life recycling. But not surprisingly, corporations, while insisting they are greening their process, often fight stricter regulations. Meanwhile, many environmental groups, including the activist group Greenpeace, have taken up the cause. Greenpeace states that it is working to get companies to:

  1. measure and reduce emissions with energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy policy advocacy
  2. make greener, efficient, longer lasting products that are free of hazardous substance
  3. reduce environmental impacts throughout company operations, from choosing production materials and energy sources right through to establishing global take-back programs for old products (Greenpeace 2011).

Greenpeace produces annual ratings of how well companies are meeting these goals so consumers can see how brands stack up. For instance, Apple moved from ranking fourth overall to sixth overall from 2011 to 2012. The hope is that consumers will vote with their wallets, and the greener companies will be rewarded.

Air

China’s fast-growing economy and burgeoning industry have translated into notoriously poor air quality. Smog hangs heavily over the major cities, sometimes grounding aircraft that cannot navigate through it. Pedestrians and cyclists wear air-filter masks to protect themselves. In Beijing, citizens are skeptical that the government-issued daily pollution ratings are trustworthy. Increasingly, they are taking their own pollution measurements in the hopes that accurate information will galvanize others to action. Given that some days they can barely see down the street, they hope action comes soon (Papenfuss 2011).

Questions & Answers

how to acceptance a new cultural?
Suha Reply
What is the difference between illness and disease
Wondaboy Reply
The disease is a virus either the patient is a person infected with the virus
Suha
is sociology a science
BRANDFORD Reply
please if someone.haz a notes of sociology please help via email
aditya
which class
manisha
sociology notes are available on Mrunal site.
manisha
and also every sociology questions answer are available on 'yourarticlelibrary site
manisha
please someone should help me out three negative effects of ethnocentric sentiments
Vitus Reply
Is patriotism a form of mind control?
Leonard Reply
yes it is..it creates a feeling to protect one's country in war.
manisha
Good answer Manisha. Thanks for your honesty.
Leonard
Patriotism is what they propagate and preach the ideology of specific intetests.
Sadiq
Thank you Sadiq. Another good answer.
Leonard
how many types of families are their ?
aditya
Most of the time patriotism towards own country leads to enemy of other country. These border creates patriotism. these nations create patriotism.. patriotism is being taught to soldiers so tht thy can fight against enemy. bt wht if there would be no nation n earth is calld as 1 land without borders
manisha
Thank you Manisha. I see you really study Sociology.
Leonard
Aditya Jain, idk exactly, but I'd like to learn of them.
Leonard
its a logic outside of sociology subject.. o answered from my thinking..that there should not be any borders it creates much troubles of war.
manisha
types of family answer is given in detail on yourarticlelibrary
manisha
k thanks
aditya
at present , if there is no borders then it also leds to war , war for foods war for shelter, I mean for basic needs. because today society is not well managed by its own citizen everyone is suffering from greedness, crime rate will be also high...
mohit
it is difficult to make that one nation as international land I agree. societies doesn't changed like magic...only individual changes..n this leads to society changes..law changes and this leads to society changes
manisha
so much of capital and money is invested for war bombs rifles and if this created to make agriculture land..we can make earth beautiful rather than creating a havoc by wars.
manisha
I am absolutely agree with you Manisha
mohit
three factors accounting for cultural differences
Vitus Reply
(1) Contact (2) Technology Evolution (3) The geographical and ecological factor.
AGARTHA
please what are d approaches ro deviance
Achi
please I don't understand Mr Achi
Vitus
negative effects of ethnocentric sentiments
Vitus
what is sociological imagination
Gh
sociological imagination is to see other's perspective or view on problems or idea or practice.
manisha
Use wider lenses to consider the relationship between your personal experience and society as a whole. This will help you change perspectives on your story and your connections to society, to institutions, to history. Now you’re using the sociological imagination.
manisha
yeah, but just don't deceive yourself in the process.
Leonard
ok but it can be helpful in perceiving own problems in other way but at the end what we think is only matters. sometimes it changes our attitude n thinking n perspective.
manisha
difference between custom and culture
Gh Reply
costumes are made by people and every individual is having customes in there cultures.
Adil
What is conflict perspective
Najib
with conflict perspective,sociologist see the world in constant struggle and there is competition due to limited resources.
Fridaws
What is culture؟
Suha Reply
totally wey of life
TauceepH
Can anyone help me with Max Weber's theory on sociology?
NEETHU Reply
it's not Marx actually it's Weber..if u do have notes 4 dat culd me send it to me
NEETHU
wat is sociological imagination
Peter Reply
what are the important of sociology
Fatima Reply
what's meaning of sacred in sociology?
Annas Reply
Define Sociology in the light of its Subject Matter.? I need a comprehensive answer if somebody could help Please?
Sakhawat Reply
sociology is the science that studies human beings in the society
Tambi
sociology group of origanazition
Suha
difference between culture and custom
Gh
importance of sociology
Maqsood Reply
6.sociology has made broaden the outlook of man. 7 Sociology is of great importance in the solution of international problems. 
manisha
1 sociology detects and Solve Social Problems 2Sociology Helps in Planning and Development 3. Sociology makes a scientific study of Sociology 4 studies role of the institutions in the development of the individuals. 5 Helps in Preservation and Growth of Culture 6.sociology has made broaden the outl
manisha
sociology makes humans versatile
Emeka
what is sociology of education?
Ndifon Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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