Tuesday, December 04, 2007

scourge of the information age

Advancements in communications technology make it easier than ever for the globetrotting traveler to stay connected and keep in touch. However, the shortening product lifecycles of the latest cell phones, PDAs, and notebook computers translate directly into increasing amounts of obsolete electronics piling up in a landfill near you.

The editor's new cellphone is not only slick and very orange - it's also full of lead and mercury. Will recycling it at the end of its useful life ensure that such toxins won't leach into the environment?

The consequences aren't pretty. So-called electronic waste or e-waste - which features copious amounts of notorious contaminants such as lead, mercury, and beryllium - is the scourge of the Information Age. Dumped e-waste becomes nothing less than a slow-release conglomeration of toxins and carcinogens, affecting both human and environmental health.

In response, many Western jurisdictions have stepped up efforts to encourage the recycling of e-waste. Although this seems to be a positive development, there is a dark side, too.

Click here, for the full story at ethicaltraveler.org.

Felix, when not dating married women or gambling at the dogtrack, writes for the Ethical Traveler news team. Ethical Traveler is a project of the California-based Earth Island Institute.


  1. The Province of Alberta, as one example, now has an environmental levy on any new T.V. / Computer / electronic equipment purchased.

    This fee is fed back into a government initiated electronic recycling program to clean up these waste products.

    The PROBLEM? The fund sits at a surplus right now because few people are (a) aware of the recycling program and (b) taking advantage of it.

  2. The Editor is looking sharp. Thanks for the recycling info. They always talk about recycling these things but never tell you where you can do it! They need to get the word out!

  3. TSM and M ... yep, I think there's an information gap here somewhere. People simply aren't aware, and that's a shame.

  4. Min Min says "Oh, Bear!" ....

  5. Saskatchewan has recently jumped into the wagon of recycling levy. What I want to know is where is the levy collected gone? Hope the same electronic junks didn't end up in the landfill not too far away from our backyard and the levy be stashed under surplus in the government finance department. That would be a pity!

  6. The Hunted ... the editor says, "huh?"

    Zhu Ruiyin ... I'm willing to bet that the tax levy goes right into the Government's general revenues.