60 Minutes: The Trail of Toxic E Waste

Where does your old computer, monitor and printer end up when you are done with it?

This recent 60 minutes story “follows America’s toxic electronic waste as it is illegally shipped to become China’s dirty decret”

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12 thoughts on “60 Minutes: The Trail of Toxic E Waste”

  1. Lawrence Travers

    So why has the U.S. government NOT arrested, tried, and imprisoned the CEOs of these Companies? Oh yea, Corporations are NOW "people" because of the bribery of politicians and insanity of the Supreme Court….so we can only fine Corporations.. Big F'n deal…..the Corporations profit in the crimes AND simply passing the costs of fines to the US consumers in increased new product costs. THE USA is being flushed down the toilet.. The 1% will simply bank their fortunes in the Caymens.

  2. Hey Dolph,

    I wish that they paid the fees here, too. If they did, maybe things would get better.

    Aren’t CRT monitors Great! I love ’em. My favorite is a NEC from 1996 and my main one is a 21 inch from 2002. I’ve actually got 2 that are from the early 90’s that are going strong. As long as you use GOOD surge supressors, the things could last from 25-30 years.

    Flat panels are only good for 3-5 years (If you are lucky). I really don’t like the idea of renting a monitor.

    And I found a local recycler here that does everything in state and EPA certified. I never have used the “Hong Kong Connection”.

    Another guy I know reloads Bullets and likes to pour his own lead bullets for pistol matches, so that’s another place that some of the monitors go.

    Take care and Merry Christmas!

  3. Adolph J. Heideman

    Dear Keith, thanks for responding on my comment. I live in The Netherlands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands) and for every piece of electric/electronic peace of equipment we pay,at the moment of purchasing, an amount of money to be ensured that, when the time comes, it can be handeled properly. State institutiones are taking care that dismanteling/scrapping/refurbishing et cetera takes place conform standards as agreed on. So I think I can look in the mirror with a clean consience. I’m not blaming America, I’m blaming the people you saw on the film and the official departments that should take their resposibilitie, get procedures in place and solve the problem.
    Kind regards,
    Dolph Heideman
    PS: my monitor is from 1998;-))

  4. You can say “eewww” all that you want while you sit there looking at your flat panel monitor (that is only good for about 3 or 4 years, btw) after getting rid of your CRT monitor (which could last for 20+ years).

    Tell me, what are YOU doing about it? Getting another “Free” cell phone when your contract is up? Where’s your old one?

    How about that last computer? You know, the one you left at the repair shop because you’d rather spend the money to get a new one, and you never even paid the tech for checking it out for you. Yeah, that one.

    Well, stop blaming “America” and go in there and look in the mirror. That’s who did it.

    Then, you can come by the shop and pick up that computer that I repaired for you 2 or 3 years ago. Yeah, it’s a little dusty, and maybe slow by today’s standards, but I did good work. And it’s still a good system.

    If you don’t, I may just have to resort to one of these “Recyclers” in order to get my shop space back.

    You could at least stop by and tell me it’s OK to sell the durn thing. There is always some kid out there that could use a good machine for a good price (even though I take a loss because you said “go ahead and fix it”, then you bought that new system at Wally World and left me holding the bag, er, box.)

    And while you are thinking about it, see if you can come up with a place to put the 116 crt monitors that you helped dump on me. Yeah, the ones that I find in the morning when I drive up to the shop. I know it wasn’t the monitor fairy that left them. She only leaves ones that work.

  5. Adolph J. Heideman

    This is unbeleavable. America being a ‘civilized’ country should prevent this kind of export and put controlprocedures in place asap.

  6. It made me sick..I was devastated at it!! The children BAREFOOT!! IN that muck of toxins!! We should be ashamed at our selves and other nations that send such toxins with out damanding or caring were it goes, or how it is being “recycled” NOT MY BACK YARD?? THEN WHO”S!!!!!!

  7. Nothing wrong with recycling e-wast but is wrong is how it is done. Don’t totally blame the U.S. for shipping there their e-wast to Chine. There are a lot of other countries out there doing the same thing and Chine itself is alluring the e-wast in. Yes we should/could/must stop it at our end but it won’t stop it in China.

  8. Technology exists today so that electronics manufacturers should be responsible for recycling what they make.Once recycling proceedures are set up they would probibly pay for themselves.

  9. What an atrocity! I’m all for progress in technology and all the new latest and greatest gadgets, but we need to do it responsibly and this isn’t the way to do it. We need to start seeing manufacturers actually take the initiative and start offering computers made from 100% recycled materials for one thing, and for another, there needs to be a list of ethical electronics recyclers and unethical recyclers need to be tarred and feathered and paraded down the streets in their underwear for us to ridicule in return for their complete and utter incompetence in this matter. So far, none of my electronics have made their way into the garbage after retirement. I’ll be sure to take the time to find an ethical recycler so I’m not a contributor to this.

  10. This is disgusting. At the same time as we drive innovation and push three-year old hardware to become obsolete, we can’t handle how to decommission used electronic parts? There must be a way to extract the lucrative metals and recycle the rest. Otherwise we’ll just continue wasting the resources mother nature has given us, and at some point we’ll run out.

  11. This should be on the “To Do List” for the new Obama Administration. We are the richest country in the world yet we allowing this e-waste as well as our decommissioned ships to be torn down in other third world countries. We live in a global world and what happens over there environmentally can affect the whole planet, including the US in the long run. Not to mention that the US is the biggest financial backers to all of these countries. The health, human and environmental toll will far outweigh any financial benefits that these countries seek. We need to close these loopholes, fine and shut down all the companies that are engaging in these practices. We are in an economic crisis and jobs and unemployment is at an all time low. Why cant these jobs be available to workers in the United States? Imagine how many jobs we could fill with e-waste recycling and we can do it better, cleaner and way more environmentally prudent than the Chinese or any other third world countries.

  12. Nasty. We need to stop throwing away and stop recycling all our e-waste. If the supply dries up, then the destitute Chinese will be looking at other options for work instead of choosing the most lucrative yet poisonous option. $8 a day is a lot for them, but its still not worth it.

    I wonder if normal waste goes somewhere, as well? I never thought about stuff like this until I watched this report. I certainly had no idea a computer [let alone any electronics] carried that much in the way of toxic metals. My goodness. Very eww.

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