We live in a fast changing world, and as technology becomes faster and cheaper, upgrades seem to become more essential.
But of course with all these upgrades the old computers, phones and TVs have to end up somewhere. Electronic waste, or e-waste is a problem that's growing as fast as technology's advancing. In fact 20 to 50 million tonnes of e-waste are generated every year worldwide.
Griffith University in Queensland has established a research project which is working with councils and large organisations around Australia to develop better ways to manage the problem of e-waste. homepage producer Aimee McIntosh talked with Dr Georgina Davis, a researcher involved with the project.
Dr Davis pointed out there are many dangers posed to the environment by chemicals contained in the materials electronic items are made up of, but also dangers posed by irresponsible energy consumption and unnecessary use.
Through looking into these projects Dr Davis has found councils committed to e-waste initiatives can sometimes find it hard to fund relevant projects. Dr Davis believes that more awareness about the importance of responsible e-waste management will provide the resources councils need.
While there are projects that need to happen at a community and council level to deal with e-waste, Dr Davis also gave some tips on how the individual can deal responsibly with e-waste. Some of these include:
- buying a computer from a company that offers a pick up and recycle service at the end of the computer's usable life
- sharing computers and printers
- refilling inkjet cartridges with soy or non-petroleum based inks
- printing only what is necessary
- recycling paper waste
- giving away your old computer to charity, family or friends
- choosing computers that minimize energy consumption (laptops are the best)
There are plenty of options we can make use of in dealing responsibly with e-waste. There are also plenty of resources on the net that explain how to deal with e-waste and a variety of other green computing initiatives. Some useful web links are:
EPEAT is an organisation that calculates environmental ratings for computers http://www.epeat.net
Griffith university's e-waste project website is: http://www.griffith.edu.au/ewaste
Homepage is produced in the studios of 2MCE, Bathurst for the Community Radio Network and is supported financially by the Community Broadcasting Foundation. You can hear homepage on the 2MCE streaming service each Monday at 3pm EST via http://www.2mce.org.