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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are multiplying at alarming rates thanks in part to planned obsolescence (the designing of products to quickly become outdated and then be replaced by the constant emergence of newer and cheaper electronics), have toxic chemicals and precious metals in them, which makes for a dangerous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 does society cause desaeas
Kahange Reply
what is deviant behavior and why is relative.
Haruna
samajsatra ki paribhasha de
Ali Reply
wt
Aijaz
समाजशास्त्र मानव समाज का अध्ययन है। यह सामाजिक विज्ञान की एक शाखा है, जो मानवीय सामाजिक संरचना और गतिविधियों से संबंधित जानकारी को परिष्कृत करने और उनका विकास करने के लिए, अनुभवजन्य विवेचनऔर विवेचनात्मक विश्लेषण की विभिन्न पद्धतियों का उपयोग करता है।
Soumya
समाज के विभिन्न पहलुओं के क्रमबद्ध अध्ययन को समाजशास्त्र कहते हैं |
Soumya
समाजशास्त्र मानव समाज का अध्ययन है। यह सामाजिक विज्ञान की एक शाखा है, जो मानवीय सामाजिक संरचना और गतिविधियों से संबंधित जानकारी को परिष्कृत करने और उनका विकास करने के लिए, अनुभवजन्य विवेचनऔर विवेचनात्मक विश्लेषण की विभिन्न पद्धतियों का उपयोग करता है।
Soumya
what is sociology?
Dulom
the study of human behaviour and its environment
Jimmy
The study of human behaviour beliefs etc.study of man's life from woom to tom
Zahid
what's criminal investigation?
Haruna
it is simple be defines as the process of collecting information or evidence about a particular issues eg.place, when, interrogation and many more
Oduro
what is the nature of social problem?
rashid
relative deprivation
Batch Reply
Why is Max Weber different from other founding fathers of sociology
Bertha Reply
what problems sociologist faced in their profession
Mishi Reply
The sociologists professional ethics defines the rules of the sociologists professional activities. Observing moral standards is an expression of care not only for the sociologists common good, but also for the society common good as the society is examined by the sociologists and the soci
Aijaz
It varries from country to country. As it is comparatively a new profession, I think job placement itself is one among the key concern for the new Sociologists. Main reason is that what they do is usually considered to be something that is not as good as what other professionals do.
Naughty
thanks
Mishi
who is Karl Marx
Cyborg Reply
Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. Born in Trier, Germany, to a Jewish middle-class family, Marx studied law and philosophy at university.
Aijaz
okay
Haruna
Charz fond of watching Tv series she spends most of her time after school hours watching TV consequently she had very poor performance in her academic year exams. using the behavioral theories describe charz problem and suggest ways to solve it.
Chax Reply
l really want to know the main difference between culture and society
Kaifa Reply
Society is composed of people where as culture is what they think and what they do. Culture is the way people live. Society is a larger group of people. Their similar ways of living constitute their culture.
Naughty
sure
ROBERT
exactly, thanks.
Hawa
Explain Karl Marx concern on ecology ?
Indana Reply
who is a lanbroso?
Haruna
To link Marxism and ecological transition may seem at first like trying to bridge two entirely different movements and discourses, each with its own history and logic: one having mainly to do with class relations, the other with the relation between humans and the environment. However, historically
Aijaz
           View all Cesare Lombroso, was an Italian criminologist and physician, founder of the Italian School of Positivist Criminology. Lombroso rejected the established classical school, which held that crime was a characteristic trait of human nature. ok
Aijaz
Hi
Ariful
hello
Ophelia
hello
Amin
what is the best book for explane theories of sociology?
Amin
Classical Sociological theory by George Ritzer
Mubarak
yeah ritzer is one of the best
musharaf
sociological rheory of laura desfor edles is alsoo
musharaf
his wording is very easy
musharaf
I never seen this book Musharaf
Mubarak
try to consult. actully this book is of contemporary era's theorist
musharaf
Okay I will do it right nw
Mubarak
Thank you so much Musharaf for ur concerns
Mubarak
my pleasure sir
musharaf
I think the book not free. right
Amin
tnx my friend.
Haruna
hi friends
Vicky
hi Indana
Akak
what is culture
Dancan Reply
is the totally way of life
Marvin
what do you mean by method ?
Gautam Reply
   In object-oriented programming, a method is a programmed procedure that is defined as part of a class and included in any object of that class. A class (and thus an object) can have more than one method. A method in an object can only have access to the data known to that object, which ensures d
Aijaz
👍
Aijaz
what is sociology?
Steven Reply
It is the study of human social relationships and institutions
Oduro
scientific.
Steven
It is the scientific study of human social relationships and institution
Steven
scientific analysis of a social institution as a functioning whole and as it relates to the rest of society
Venkat
Nice
Steven
what sort of career are you interested in ? how could studying sociology help you in this career?
Sharmo Reply
how do you think taking a sociology course might effect your social interactions?
Sharmo Reply
am studying at uni and in the course I have chosen there is sociology so I just wanted to know more about it.
Corinne
I am studying at University and I think the course change your social interactions. becouse sociologists have other vision of stuffs means world.
Joel
am teaching sociology in my opinion sociology must be taught from primary level to all kinds of students because social interactions and values are important to everyone.
Ajaib
sociology is the only subject which is studied by every person from his fist day of the birth to till death
musharaf
do you really think so
Corinne
it is the study of the society and how people live in the society
Muhammad 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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