Archive for September, 2011

E-waste? What? How? (part two)

E-waste is not just a plain waste. The many different components that you can find in it are opening a completely new chapter, so instead simply disposed in landfills it can be re-used or recycled and re-join in the country’s economy. It contains useful elements that can be back into commerce, to create jobs and to bring about economic development.

Increasing the recycling rate of all electronic devices is not only imperative for protecting public health, but also for conserving natural resources. The challenge for the planet is educating consumers, developing a convenient infrastructure that recycles e-waste responsibly, and covering the costs.

This is how responsible e-waste recycling carries great benefits for the economy and for the environment:

  • Allows recovery of valuable precious metals.

Three main materials being recovered from e-waste are metals, glass and plastics. It is believed that the e-waste has about 50% non-colored metal, about 5% colored metals and 20-25% plastics. Printed Wiring Boards (PWB) contain the highest value metals as well as some of the most toxic metals found in electronics scrap.There are 10 to 100 times more precious metals in PWBs than in an equal weight of ore taken from a mine. For example: in traditional gold-mining operations, a company would need to move an entire ton of ore to extract 1 gram of gold. But, through the far simpler and cheaper process of recycling, it is possible to extract the same amount of gold from 41 discarded mobile phones.

While some of these mined metals eventually end up as pieces of jewelry or other valuables, more often than not they are used to create common household electronics.

The majority of electronic devices are currently being recovered for precious metals (gold, silver and platinum) and copper.

  • Protects environment and public health.

Recycling disables long e-waste disposal in the landfills. That means that e-waste toxins can’t be released into the atmosphere or seep in through the land and have negative health and environmental effects.

About 50% of the WEEE mass consists of colored metals, mainly steel. Collection and recycling of this material is usually achieved savings of 74% energy, 76% of water pollution and 86% air pollution in relation to primary production of steel.

  • Creating jobs

Recycling e-waste creates jobs for professional recyclers and refurbishers and creates new markets for the valuable components that are dismantled.

Materials recycling from waste generate 5-7 times more jobs than required for combustion, and 10 times more jobs than it takes to remove the landfill. The EU thematic strategy on prevention and recycling is considering that waste management and recycling sector in the EU27 are provided from 1.2 to 1.5 million jobs.

For better explanation, these means that on every 1,000 tons of waste electronics:

– Landfilled less than 1 job is created

– Recycled 15 jobs are created

– Repaired 200 jobs are created (on the other hand this activity is providing the opportunity for low income students and families to obtain low-cost working computers)

  • Saves landfill space.

Recycling e-waste will help conserve landfill space. While the weight represented by used electronics is not dramatic, the volume that these items represent in landfills is proportionally more significant because of the bulk and rigidity of these materials. Recycling eliminates the need to build the equivalent of one new large landfill each year, either at a remote, rural location or near a residential neighborhood, thus avoiding environmental concerns, such as air and water pollution and truck traffic.

Conclusion:

Recycling raw materials from end-of-life electronics is the most effective solution to the growing e-waste problem. Most electronic devices contain a variety of materials, including metals that can be recovered for future uses. By dismantling and providing reuse possibilities, intact natural resources are conserved and air and water pollution caused by hazardous disposal is avoided. Additionally, recycling reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacturing of new products. It simply makes good sense and is efficient to recycle and to do our part to keep the environment green.

To be continued …

“E-waste – problem we must find solution for” in support of Clean Up the World

Batteries – enemies of the environment

Spent batteries and accumulators mixed with municipal waste in landfills across the country pose a serious threat to human health and the environment due to toxic acids and heavy metals they contain. Inadequate treated waste batteries and accumulator are poisoning us with lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium, since these dangerous substances leak into soil and groundwater. Just for illustration – a cadmium rechargeable cell phone battery pollutes 600,000 liters of water. That would mean that 3 such batteries can contaminate an Olympic pool. And did you know that only 1 gram of mercury is enough to contaminate 400 liters of water? Therefore they should not be disposed together with the other municipal waste but handled by strictly established procedure.

Starting from 29.10.2010, in accordance with EU Directive 2006/66/EC, in the Republic of Macedonia is in force a law on management of waste batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, according to which ” It is prohibited to leave or teach waste batteries and accumulators in areas designated for collection and selection of municipal household waste or other waste”. The law applies to batteries (all batteries, battery packs, batteries in the form of a button, car batteries, industrial batteries) or accumilators, regardless of their shape, volume, weight, material that is made or intended for use.

The situation in Macedonia
Macedonia annually collects over 300 tonnes of waste batteries and accumulators.
Field surveys made by members of the “4x4x4 Balkan Bridges”, showed that the average household in Macedonia spend from 0.3 to 0.7 pounds of batteries per year, small and medium-sized companies from 0.6 to 0.9, and the media to 0 , 5 kg. At the end of 2009 in Macedonia had more than 30 million batteries and over 3.5 tons of car batteries that are improperly stored and pollute the environment.
Previously mentioned law set minimum rates of collection of portable waste batteries and accumulators – by the end of 2016, to collect a minimum of 25% by weight of batteries and accumulators that are placed on the market in the Republic of Macedonia and a minimum of 45 % by the end of 2020.

What can we do?

The participation of end users in reducing the negative impact of batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators on the environment have paramount importance:

–         Old car battery take it to traders who are permitted to purchase and handling of waste batteries and get a discount on the price of a new battery.

–         Do not ever throw small batteries in the same place with municipal waste and make them easy way to the landfill also giving them a direct opportunity for contamination of soil and water.

–         Make sure that your batteries are not affecting the environment with harmful mercury so that you choose batteries with silver oxide or mercury-free lithium-manganese batteries. Choosing products without mercury may reduce the annual use of mercury to 470 kg.

–         Use rechargeable batteries and save energy (eg multipurpose batteries are ideal environmental alternative to conventional alkaline batteries – with their use dramatically is reduced the number of discarded alkaline batteries).

It is important to note that scientists are involved in this fight with dangerous substances and work intensively on reducing the negative impact of batteries on the environment and people. One of their innovations is the so-called Bio-battery that generate electricity using enzymes break carbohydrates in the form of glucose. These batteries apply the innate ability of organisms to get energy from nutrients, which, instead of being used for life activities, are used to create electricity.

Environment is everyone’s business

European Mobility Week is being held for nine years and it is a huge campaign attended by over 220 million people (almost half ofEurope) so that the various ways an alternative mobility and the need of using various modes of movement and travel are represented with the goal – a healthy and productive life for all citizens. This year’s campaign is from 16 to 22 September. In celebration of the European mobility week direct participation have the Institute Razum from Sofia and 4x4x4 Balkan Bridges from Skopje with the support of the Balkan Fund for Democracy, through the project “Environment is everyone’s business” and the action which was built last few months in Macedonia and Bulgaria.

Besides the two leading organizations, by the Macedonian side significant participants in this action and representatives of civic organizations take a part – ORT Skopje, GREENER Skopje, FLOROZON Skopje, ISIGORIA Skopje, GO GREEN Skopje, Metamorphosis Skopje, LIPA Kumanovo, NATURA Lipkovo, OSOGOVO Kriva Palanka, Information Center Kriva Palanka, MAKMONATANA – National Office of UNEP in Macedonia, Balkan Foundation for Sustainable Development – BFSD, invited representatives from almost all political parties participating in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, and most of the emphasis during this initiative will be put on the City of Skopje, the mayors of the municipalities of Kumanovo and Kriva Palanka, and local authorities from Kustendil, Pernik and Sofia.

One of the main goals of this campaign is calling citizens and local authorities for help in promotion, intensification and support of measures of local eco-initiatives with general interest for healthy and productive life of the citizens. The intensification and deepening of regional and cross-border cooperation between different participants from societies, especially the young and municipal institutions is part of the campaign too. Action which is entitled “Road Show” began in Skopje on September 19-th at the city square of Skopje and continues on September 20-th in Kumanovo and Kriva Palanka, September 21-st Pernik and Kustendil and ends on September 22-nd with the Regional Forum which will be held in the headquarters city of Sofia.

Clean Up the World Weekend

Association for Green Society – Greener is a member of Clean Up the World.

Clean Up the World is a community based environmental campaign that inspires and empowers communities from every corner of the globe to clean up, fix up and conserve their environment.
Now in its 19th year, Clean Up the World, held in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), mobilises an estimated 35 million volunteers from 130 countries annually, making it one of the largest community-based environmental campaigns in the world.Clean Up the World 2011 theme – Our Place… Our Planet… Our Responsibility – highlights how local action – taken by every community and volunteer partaking in a Clean Up the World activity – has a global impact.
To address local environmental issues and/or to celebrate key initiatives, Clean Up the World Members conduct a variety of activities. They include:

  • Clean Up Events
  • Waste Recycling Projects
  • Environmental
  • Educational Campaigns
  • Climate Change Action
  • Resource Recovery Projects
  • Water Reuse & Water Management Projects
  • Competitions
  • Waste Art Exhibitions

The campaign’s flagship event is Clean Up the World Weekend, held on the 3rd weekend in September each year. In addition to uniting millions in global environmental action, Clean Up the World Weekend serves as a celebration of participants’ year round activities. By promoting their achievements internationally, Clean Up the World focuses public attention on global community concerns for the environment and how each individual can make a positive contribution to a cleaner and healthier world.

 

Association for Green Society – Greener in support of Clean Up the World Weekend 2011 is doing activity in category “4 R’s/Waste”. It is public event for raising awareness about e-waste named “E-waste – problem we must find solution for”.

E-waste? What? How? (part one)

“Law for management of electrical and electronic equipment and waste electrical and electronic equipment” categorizes electrical and electronic equipment as:

  1. large household appliances;
  2. small home appliances;
  3. equipment for information technology and telecommunications;
  4. wide consumer equipment and electronics for entertainment;
  5. lighting equipment;
  6. electrical and electronic appliances (except large stationary industrial tools);
  7. electrical and electronic equipment and toys for fun and sport;
  8. medical devices (except devices that can cause infection or radiation);
  9. tools for monitoring and control, and
  10. automatic machines.

E-waste includes waste from electrical and electronic equipment.
World faces expansion in technology development, so we easy become part of the great consumer society – buy, spend, throw … Unfortunately, our unnecessary electrical and electronic equipment often is improperly discard and usually ends with the rest of waste on the city’s overall waste landfills, dumps, in the cellars, attics or on other places – as far from our eyes.

Have you ever wondered what’s going on with your computer, TV or other household appliance from which you get rid on this or that way? What do you think, what is their impact on the environment and human health?
We encourage you to think about …

E-waste contains many harmful substances that negatively affect the environment, human and animal health if improperly handled. With inadequate and irresponsible handling of this type of waste and it disposal in nature it directly delays to soil and water and pollute them. It is particularly important to highlight the presence of:

Lead – can damage the central and peripheral nervous system of humans, there are registered effects of the endocrine system and can affect the cardiovascular system and kidneys. Lead is accumulated in the environment and has high acute and chronic toxic effects on plants, animals and microorganisms.

Cadmium – classified as toxic with a possible risk of irreversible effects on human health. Cadmium and cadmium compounds accumulate in the human body, especially in the kidneys and over time can lead to serious damage. Prolonged exposure to cadmium chloride may cause cancer.

Mercury – Methyl mercury easily accumulates in living organisms and concentrates through the food chain through fish. Methyl mercury has chronic effects and causes brain damage.

Hexavalent chromium (VI Cr) – is easily absorbed and produces different toxic effects in cells. Chromium VI causes very strong allergic reactions, such as asthmatic bronchitis, for example. Chromium VI considered potentially damaging to DNA.

Brominated burning flame retarder – are regularly used in electronic products as a means of protection from fire. More scientific observations indicate that polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) act on the endocrine system. When polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) will be released into the environment, they can enter the food chain.

To be continued …

“E-waste – problem we must find solution for” in support of Clean Up the World Weekend

 

It’s cleaning time: Towards a Cleaner Tomorrow

Although this month started under the impressions of The European Basketball Championship of 2011 we’ll still keep the line of green living.

Somehow September is the month when preparations for the winter and autumn cleansing traditionally begin, so our goal is to make you think about what you’re doing with unnecessary stuff from your home.

Therefore, under the motto “cleaner.” we devote this month to waste management and its importance. During September expect activities and posts dedicated to e-waste, waste batteries, plastic wastes, etc.

For start up, keep in mind that careful waste management minimises negative effect on the environment & human health.

In this context, is there any topic you’d like to read about?

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