|Protect the Environment
Why Should You Protect the Environment?
E-waste or electronic waste is the #1 recycling problem in America
today. This is due in large part to:
- Proliferation of electronic products
- Increasingly short life spans for these products
- Toxic components
- Lack of industry standards for end of life processing
Recycle: Reducing the Cost to Human Health
Recycling should be the first choice for raw material procurement.
It is a little known fact that mining and burning of e-waste produces
large amounts of toxics. AOK Recycling is working to keep e-waste
out of land fills and incinerators. The Toxics Release Inventory
(TRI), EPA reports show the Mining Industry:
- Released 1.3 billion pounds of toxics in 2002.
- Released 2,681,256 pounds alone of cyanide in 2001
- Accounts for 88% of all reported mercury releases in the
- 4.3 million pounds of mercury were put into our air, water
and soil in 2001
- Totals 27% of all toxics released by U.S. Industry overall
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element, when disturbed it may
be released in the air or water. Arsenic contamination is closely
associated with lead smelting. Breathing Arsenic may give you a
sore throat or irritated lungs. Ingesting large amounts of inorganic
arsenic can cause death.
Cyanide solutions readily form soluble bonds with gold and silver
rendering them easier to mine. Cyanide exposure in high levels for
a short time harms the brain and heart and can even cause coma and
death. Workers who inhaled low levels of hydrogen cyanide over a
period of years experienced breathing problems, chest pain, vomiting,
blood changes, headaches and enlargement of the thyroid gland. Cyanide
in gas form is highly toxic to cells, it is the killing agent used
in gas chambers. Cyanide is also released in the combustion of certain
Ingested mercury is almost completely absorbed into the blood and
distributed to all tissues including the brain and readily passes
through the placenta into the fetus. Mercury is linked to learning
disorders, behavioral difficulties, lower IQ and a host of other
Lead is inherently risky to extract. Lead can affect almost every
organ and system in the body, the central nervous system is the
most sensitive, especially in children.
Lead damages kidneys and the reproductive system and may cause
anemia. At high levels, lead may decrease reaction time, cause weakness
in fingers, wrists or ankles, and possibly affect the memory.
To read more about it, go to:
Women's Voices For The Earth
Earth Works Mining Reform
Center for Science in Public Participation
Recycle: Reducing Economic Costs
Taxpayers are often stuck with the cost of reclaiming damaged mining
sites and reducing sources of harm to environmental and human health.
In one example of reclamations staggering costs, state agency representatives
in New Mexico recently estimated cleanup for two large open pit
copper mines at 800 million.
~ Hardrock Mining: Risks to Community Health,
Boulanger and Alexandra Gorman, September 2004.
Pollution from the ASARCO smelter in East Helena, Montana is known
to contaminate a 100-square-mile area around the site ~EPA,
Serious health risks to children have been identified, entire yards
and lawns have been removed to reduce the danger of lead exposure. ~EPA, 2003.
Increased costs of educational and correction systems for people
harmed by toxic waste has not been noted but not estimated; costs
are far reaching and multi-faceted.
Millions of pounds of metals are going to landfills in e-waste.
A study conducted by the National Recycling Coalition projected
that by 2007 computers will be replaced an average of every two
years and between 1998 and 2007 500 million computers will have
Please see our Potential of E-cycling page.
How do you determine a hazardous waste?
To determine if a waste is characteristically hazardous waste
call AOK Computer Recycling Administrative Offices at 214.564.7795.
You may also go to 40 CFR Part 261, Subpart C at the EPA website; www.epa.gov/epacfr40/ then click on Chapter I info to find the portion of 40 CFR that
contains Part 261 (which is Subchapter I)
Or Chapter 3 of “Guidelines for the Classification and Coding
of Industrial and Hazardous Waste”, RC-022; access at the
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) website; www.tceq.state.tx.us under the heading, “Publications.”
Or The Universal Waste Regulations for Hazardous Lamps in Texas
guide which tells how to comply with state and federal law when
disposing of lamps that contain mercury, lead, or other hazardous
substances, the same metals found in PC’s. Fluorescent tubes,
sodium vapor lamps, metal halide lamps & incandescent lamps
may be covered by the regulations; www.tceq.state.tx.us/comm_exec/forms_pubs/pubs/rg/rg-377_201864.pdf