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Posts Tagged ‘npr’


Posted by eric on November 14, 2007

I normally listen to NPR on my way into work, and sometimes on my way home as well. One of the programs that I usually catch is Marketplace — a look at the business world, economics, and all kinds of things. (It’s more interesting than it sounds.) Recently, they’ve been doing reports in a series called Consumed, looking at whether the current “consumer economy” is sustainable. Tonight’s report on the processing of e-waste was almost a little scary. Basically, a lot of stuff gets shipped off to China. Processors there strip out the metals, either by just hacking the parts off, or dissolving them in chemicals. Sometimes, the “chemical stew” (as they put it) just gets dumped into the soil. That mixture sometimes includes lead. The solid metals are sold to wholesalers. Sometimes those metals get used for jewelry — cheap stuff that’s sent back to the US and sold in dollar stores and the like. And sometimes those items include lead — which shouldn’t be shocking, given the recent recalls. Yikes.
I’ve at least tried to be responsible with my e-waste. When I had a computer power supply go bad a few years ago, I took it (along with an old printer) to the “hazardous materials” facility run by the city, which accepts e-waste. So now I just hope they’ve been responsible…

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