eWaste - an Analysis of the Issues

Extension of PC Life (Kenneth & Kamol)

Computers have very wide ranges of temperatures. This means that computers would have to be turned off when they are not at use, or risk over heating, which can cause a build up of static on the computer. Though some may think that computers will not over heat because of the inbuilt fan, computers can still reach temperatures of up to 30°. Other ways of preventing this is by always checking that it’s at a temperature between 16°-25 °.
Electricity, another important factor when determining the life of your computer, this is because there are such things as “dirty” electricity. This is when there are such things like; ’Brownouts’ occur, where the voltage level is below the minimum level that’s for your system, ‘Surges’ which is the sudden increase of voltage in your electrical appliances and ‘sags’ which is the sudden decrease of voltage in your electrical appliances.
When connected to the internet, many harmful bugs, also known as ‘Viruses’ are waiting to attack your computer. To prevent this from happening, a firewall will be necessary, this usually comes inbuilt in most computer now a days. A firewall protects your computer from harmful viruses by block objects that are trying to enter your computer. This program will ask you if you would like to let the program into your computer, this is usually done when you are trying to download something of the internet. However, if the virus is already on the computer, and you need to locate it, an installation of an Anti-Spyware program is necessary. This program helps you to check your computer for viruses and clean them out at the same time.

You should also do a disc clean up. For this there are 3 simple things you can do:
Disk clean up – Remove all unwanted files
Defragmentation – This is basically moving remote files related to a certain program of software to its proper place so the memory can work faster. (This process takes a long time depending on computer capability and memory)
Clean up of Tower – After a while dust will gather within your hard drive it is good to get a dust blower of any sort to get rid of this. All you need is a screwdriver. (For safety precaution don’t forget to unplug everything) and take some dust out of the system, this should remove issues with Air and Temperature.
4. Independent Preservation of Computer
You have to check your computer’s to extent it’s life:
Start Check – It is important to check the things that makes noise, which can the fan the monitor or the hard drive or even CPU. Also if you hear a grinding noise you can clearly tell that theirs is something wrong.
Checking online – You can simply get your computer sorted online at certain websites such as http://www.pcpitstop.com/ , this site will give a performance check on your computer and provide valuable feedback.
Isolation of Computer – Completely disconnect your computer for a short period of time or closing all programs and keep the CPU at 0%.
Cleaning and Removal of Temporary Files – These are files gathered by surfing the internet, it would be wise to delete these every now and then since they can start to pile up. While you’re on the internet these temporary files pile and it would be wise to delete them. But this will make it slower when you go back to the site because every file has to be reloaded again.
Defragmenting and Restarting – Defragmenting and restarting your computer will test its ability to restart, any errors during this process, you should see your local mechanic.
Updates – Keep everything updated!

Recycling Awareness

The concept of recycling eWaste wasn’t really introduced since the 1990, where the original concept of recycling eWaste was associated with normal household electrical appliances such as telephones. The first active recycling facility was implemented in Switzerland, where refrigerators were recycled, during this time computers weren’t really that common in a normal household but other products began to get into these facilities as the development of recycling eWaste improved. Within the same decade the EU decided to ban any disposal of electronic waste into a dump or landfill. In Europe two directs under the EU, WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive and RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) directive were in charge for eWaste recycling and suggested that the companies who produce the electrical products should be responsible for disposing and recycling of them.
This is the same case in the US as a bill called the ‘Electronic Waste Recycling Fee’ was suggested numerous times, this bill was first put in practice under the state of California, the movement of this recycling is mostly to do with the CRT (cathode ray tube, electronic device that focuses electrons). CRT are in electronic products such as Television, Computers Monitor and also LCD Monitors and Laptops. CRT contain hazardous gases and when dispose off can emit phosphorous gas, the glass itself also contains lead and barium compounds that are highly reactive.
Recycling isn’t a cheap process and therefore it is sometimes avoided, since the labour in Low Economically Developed nations are a lot cheaper, sometimes the eWaste is dumped and is recycled with a cheaper cost.
However without protection the labourers are in hazard when they dismantle the materials and reclaimed them in order to make new products. Hazards in dismantling of eWaste are the large abundance of PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyl), PCB has been recognize as a “persistent organic pollutant.” There are also abundance of elements such as copper, tin, lead, carbon, iron, silicon and aluminum, small amounts of mercury and cadmium. Without protection the labourers are in danger, even thought it is considered illegal to dump eWaste it still happens, even though there are specified electronic waste processing zones where the burning, disposal and disassembly of eWaste is causing environmental and health issues. After these issues a convention called the Basel Convention is in control of trades of electronic goods or actually ‘Hazardous Waste,’ this Convention prevent any illegal exporting and importing of eWaste.

The Digital Divide

Technology used in the global society has been increasing rapidly. But only 10% of electronics get recycled. The rest are shipped to foreign countries, end up in landfills, are incinerated (burned) or are used in prison labor. All of this would have serious effects on human and environmental health.
Electronics contain many hazardous materials (such as mercury, lead and cadmium) which are toxic and they’re responsible for kidney, neurological and liver damage, cancer, bronchitis etc. These chemicals could also seep into and contaminate soil and groundwater, and eventually it could filter into public water supplies and the food chain. As for electronics sent out to be incinerated, toxic chemicals are released into the air, thus contributing to air pollution.
Besides the millions of tons of electronic waste ending up in US landfills each year, most of the discarded electronics are shipped overseas to be handled or resold in developing countries like China, India and Africa because of their cheap labor and the lack of health and environmental restrictions. Most of them are actually junk, un-repairable and unusable, so they end up being dumped and burned in open air dumps or ditches. This poses health threats to locals.

Data on Computers

(Rozanna & Dolyana)
Data Wipeout/Deleting Data: Technical Aspects
When you are not using your computer anymore, it’s very important to remove personal data from it. Just deleting the files or reformatting the hard drive isn’t enough because the files can be recovered and unformatted. The entire hard drive should be wiped out to remove every type of information (eg. Passwords).
For Macs and PCs, there are many programs that can easily wipe out all the information you have on your computers such as Darik's Boot and Nuke, Info module of the Norton Utilities suite, KillDisk, etc.

80% of Hard Drives can still be used even though it has been dumped. However about 45% of remaining data may contain private information which includes credit card numbers, medical reports, detailed financial information, as well as gigabytes of personal email.
UK bank details sold in Nigeria
Briton’s bank account details are being sold in West Africa for around £20 each according to BBC’s Real Story programme. It has been found out that Nigerian “hackers” were able to have access to the internet banking data stored on hard disks from recycled PCs sent from UK to Africa. Basically, deleting files isn’t enough, users should use a programme that wipes out the information in the hard drive before giving the PCs away.

Big Business

(Patson and Linda)
The world pollution is not only caused from the burning trees or the carbon monoxide being release from the car exhaust pipe but also from disposal of mobile phones, personal computers and other technology products these waste products are called eWaste (Electronic Waste). The eWaste product has produced toxic chemicals and large amount of heavy metal.
There is an organization called Greenpeace, Greenpeace is an environmental organization that is well known worldwide and it is an international cooperation. It has set up a smaller organization but equally well known called “Guide to greener electronics” which deals with the disposal eWaste for example; mobile phones, personal computers and other electronic products which produce toxic waste. The “Guide to greener electronics” sends the electronic waste to recycle rather than sending it to landfills. But the company that is in last place for committing to this organization is Apple. Since the organization has been opened apple didn’t make any progress or change their waste distribution in anyways and it is now the 14th worst company for producing large amount of eWaste.

Extracting the ‘gold’
(Poom and Mick)
The components which can be recycled are floppy disks, ink cartridges, CDs, computer speakers and keyboards are accessories used only with computers. These items also should be properly handled to avoid excess e-waste. Some of these items contain materials that could easily be reused. For example, computer speakers are fairly standard, meaning they can be used for a variety of computer models. Other items cannot be easily transferred for reuse, like ink cartridges, but they can be refilled or recycled. Floppy disks and CDs are also unique in that some can be used over and over, but some have a one-time use (software and CD-Rs). The following links can help you determine how to dispose of these computer accessories while avoiding garbage area.
Some hazardous substances in computer include the heavy metals; lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chrome (chromium (VI)), Bromine content, indicative of brominates flame retardants (BFRs), PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and Phthalates esters (phthalates).
Printing cartridges can be used to recycle.
Printing cartridges are picked up from the drop points and transported to collection centers and then shipped to our recycling partners who disassembles or processes the parts for recycling.
On arrival at the recycling facilities, printing cartridges are sorted and shredded.
Shredded cartridge materials are separated into plastics, metals, and residuals of ink, toner or foam.
Plastics and metals are further processed into raw materials to be used in everyday new products like pen, ruler, bench, etc.
Any remaining materials and residual ink or toner are utilized to generate energy or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner.