My Mission, My Passion: Create a cleaner future by making electronic recycling as easy, common, safe and efficient as glass recycling is today. It WILL happen.
How? I am headed to India for 6 weeks to volunteer, research and learn about where our electronics end up with the intention of making a change here in the US.
Why? There is a massive ignorance in the Western world around reuse and recycling of our favorite devices - TVs, cell phones, hair dryers, coffee makers etc. Even the most conscious people and companies struggle to do the right thing. Why do you have to pay to recycle these things? Why do you sometimes get paid to recycle these things? Who's profiting? What impact does my annual upgrade have on the environment? What human impact is it creating when it's out of sight, out of mind?
My short term goal is to spread awareness and create consciousness of our electronics consumption behavior. My long term goal is to create a non-profit that handles all aspects of reuse, recycle, disposal, de-encryption and dismantling of electronics. I plan to employ recently released convicts to help assimilate them back into society.
One breathing mask, one e-waste bin, one piece of e-litter is just the beginning!
Who I'm working with:
Green Wave Recyclers , a start-up in Vishakhapatnam, major port city (read: illegal toxic import hub), with a mission to reduce e-waste by 1% locally by providing easy access to e-pick-up, safe de-encryption and dismantling, and proper recycling methods.
Waste Warriors to clean-up general waste in rural Himalayan communities while educating and giving the locals a sense of civic responsibility.
E-waste Recyclers India in Mumbai are seasoned recyclers and take on loads of waste from other countries and have a successful history of placing e-waste bins around the city.
Vice has a few great articles. This one is from an e-waste dump in Ghana, Africa which is rated among the top 10 most polluted places on Earth (Chernobyl is on the list as well).
Kai Loeffelbein is a photo journalist (http://ewaste-trail.com/)
who recently shot and compiled a beautiful photo book of the topography of e-waste throughout Ghana, China and India. Pre-order CTRL-X here (if you donate $250 or more he is giving a special discount code)
Get the facts:
+ 50,000,000 (50 million) metric tons, or 110,231,221,009 (110 billion) pounds, of e-waste are discarded globally every year. That's 200 Empire State Buildings!
+ Only 12.5% of e-waste is actually recycled
+ Those big fat TVs you had when you were a kid? Each one has 8lbs of lead. There are about 700,000,000 of them floating around intoxicating the Earth.
+70% of Western e-waste is dumped in India for children and low-wage workers to disassemble using hazardous methods.
+ We, the US, are wasting $12B/yr by not recycling electronics
What will your donation support?
- The trip: international and domestic travel, visa, vaccinations etc
- The supplies: shoes, breathing masks, waste bins
- The journey into the unknown!
Local links for you:
How to recycle: http://earth911.com/recycling-center-search-guides/
Where to recycle: http://e-stewards.org/find-a-recycler/
Become an e-Steward: http://e-stewards.org/learn-more/for-consumers/ . The e-Stewards initiative defines and promotes responsible electronics reuse and recycling best practices worldwide.