Posts Tagged ‘e-waste’

Safe Haven for Dead Gadgets

When he’s not logging swim hours in the Atlantic Ocean, Earthkeeper Hero Christopher Swain takes to dry land to educate the public about pollution and the need for cleaner waterways.  In Philadelphia last week, Christopher staged an Ethical Electronics Recycling Event where more than 11,000 pounds of discarded and outdated consumer electronics (commonly known as “e-waste”) were collected for recycling and, when possible, reuse.

What’s the link between your old computer and the clean ocean Christopher Swain is advocating for?  In his own words:

If these devices get tipped into a landfill, or dumped on the ground in Asia or Africa, they vomit their toxic contents–mercury, lead, arsenic, barium, hexavalent chromium, and other nasty compounds–into the environment.  This pollutes nearby lands and waterways, and eventually, the ocean.


Dead dolphins and porpoises have been found with high levels of manmade toxics like brominated fire retardants in their blubber.  Have dolphins been fighting fires?  Maybe.  But a more likely explanation is that they have eaten fish from oceans contaminated with the same chemical powders that grace the insides of our cell phones and laptops.

That’s scary enough to make any Earthkeeper give up his or her electronic gadget habit … or at least find a safe home for those dead iPods and laptops.

You can read more about Christopher’s work to clean up our e-waste in his blog post on Changents.com.  And if you’re interested in organizing an electronics recycling event for your community, visit Christopher’s website.

Good Green Reading: Big Green Purse

Editor’s note: The following excerpt is from Diane MacEachern’s book, “Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World.”  We like the book for its organized information (segemented by categories from personal-care products to appliances and electronics), product/company reviews and easy-to-follow suggestions for greener living … and although it targets women consumers and readers, we found most of the content equally guy-friendly and relevant.


From the moment we get up in the morning until the moment we go to bed, we depend on energy to maintain our busy schedules.  Just flick a switch or push a button.  Alarm clocks and coffeepots buzz to life.  Toasters and TVs feed us body and (occasionally) brain.  Hair dryers and dishwashers whir, computers and Cuisinarts stir.

It’s so easy we probably aren’t even aware that we’re using energy, let alone how it affects the planet.  Take electricity.  Creating kilowatts is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the United States.  Most of our electricity comes from coal, and it leaves its mark not only on our well-lit households, but also in the smog, soot, acid rain, particulate matter, and other air pollutants that cause asthma and have been linked to increased heart disease among women.  When we shift to power-saving strategies at home, we’re standing up for cleaner air and our right to breathe it.

Abating electricity demand also helps moderate global warming. US households produce 21 percent of the country’s global-warming pollution.  That’s more than the entire heat-trapping output of the United Kingdom, according to Phillips Electronics and Environmental Defense.

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