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It is inevitable to deny that we are currently living in a world where technology plays a prominent part of our lives, and that this technology is ever-quickly transforming. Like all marketable consumer products, electronic products are continuously improved, altered, and designed to appeal to targeted consumers. Many of us are familiar with the struggle of having to catch up to current trends of consumer electronic devices. The useful lives of these products are relatively short, and in a year or two, it is almost expected that a new product with more capabilities and enhanced features will be in the market that would replace the old one. This ineffective process may be blamed on the all too Western mindset that better, newer things will essentially make us happier. As a society, we cause a stir every time a new i-Phone hits the market. Whether the rapid consumption and disposal cycle is driven by consumer demand or producer planned obsolescence does not matter; it is safe to assume that this mindset is going to be difficult to change. What should change – quickly – is the management of these e-waste disposals, the lack of awareness and concern among ill-informed consumers about how to safely discard of their electronic products to undermine how the significant amounts of electronic waste will directly impact the environment and human health.

Disposal of electronics obviously differs dramatically from the disposal of say, old mattresses or soda cans. Because e waste contains a number of toxic substances, they need to be disposed of properly to ensure safety of human and environmental health. As addressed in Hai-Yong Kang’s article “E-Waste in Recycling” (2005) , the disposal method is a problem because the amount of old electro...

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...ms very often go unregulated. There are significant challenges that this generation faces with e-waste, and as our society continues making advances on producing new electronics, we should also focus on minimizing the impact when disposing of these items.

Works Cited

Kang, Hai-Yong. “Electronic Waste Recycling: A Review of U.S. Infrastructure and Technology Options”. June 2, 2005. Edited by Julie M. Schoenung

Wong, M.H. “Export of Toxic Chemicals”, December 20, 2006. edited by S.C. Wu and X.Z. Yu

United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Municipal solid waste in the United States: 2001 facts and figures, EPA-530-R-03-011; March 2003.

Herat, S. “Major Threats From E-Waste: Current Generation and Impacts”, Chemviews, April 5, 2011

Knudson, 2011. “Recycling E-Waste Yields Unexpected Byproduct: Fraud”, August 1, 2010, The Portland Press

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