CCSC board member, Doris Sherrick, says, “I just finished reading The Garbage Man and I hope if you haven’t read it that you will. It is about recycling plastics and electronics. Third world countries are basically dumping grounds for our old electronics and plastics (and other “recyclable material” that is too contaminated to be recycled). It is appalling to read of how the impoverished people (especially women and children) are working without any regulations or conditions to safeguard their health, or air and water quality, to disassemble electronics and use chemicals and fire to extract the more valuable components.”
The article, from the March edition of Popular Science, takes us to villages in Southeast China who now “specialize” in recycling electronics, or E-Waste. Their version of recycling? Burning electrical wires in open pits to recover the copper, acid-stripping circuit boards for the gold, bashing computer housing units by hand with hatchets and then melting the plastic to sort it using a “sniff test” … all without any protective clothing or ventilation. People in these villages are earning a whopping $1.50 per day working in these conditions while contaminating their bodies, their soils and their drinking water.
The article highlights the efforts of one man to do something with these materials and reinforces the need to recycle our electronic waste with reputable companies. Our annual E-Waste events do NOT ship items overseas for this type of “recycling.” We encourage you to read the article and see what one small thing you can do to help fix the problem.