Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Advent Day 10: On E-Waste

Yes, tis an unconventional Advent post... We're building up MOUNDS of toxic waste when we throw out all our electronics... there are better ways to keep the toxins minimized. I hadn't really thought about this myself! Good to keep in mind as we approach all that gift-buying this holiday season, huh? Read the full article here.

Take action
1. Consider whether you really need that new technology. Don’t buy items that you don’t have a true need for. Consider whether your home really needs the 20 electronic devices that a typical home has.
2. Buy brands of computers that are relatively “greener” to reduce the potential toxicity of your e-waste. The EPA has established a ranking system for total environmental impact of electronics called EPEAT – the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool to help consumers buy responsibly. Visit their website at http://www.epeat.net/.
3. For equipment that is obsolete but still in working order, donate it. If it is too obsolete or broken and cannot be donated, make sure that it is properly recycled. Click here for a great list of options. Another useful document is here -- it gives lots of options for recycling along with a list of software to remove your personal information from your electronics before donating them.

4. Encourage your company, school or place of worship to be responsible with their e-waste. Let them know that it matters and why. For larger volumes of e-waste, contact an e-Steward. These companies have pledged to meet criteria based on international law and the e-Steward program will be independently audited starting in 2010. For more information, click here.
5. Let your congressmen and senators know that you support legislation to limit the export of e-waste to developing countries.
6. Send this article to family and friends. Sixty-eight percent of US households have a stockpile of electronics waiting to be disposed of. They’ll appreciate the information. [that would be me until 10 minutes ago!]

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