Who started worrying about electronic waste?



  1. 0 Votes

    That is a very good question and the answer is not clear. There doesn’t appear to be one specific person or organization that was instrumental in highlighting the dangers of “e-waste,” the toxic stuff and heavy metals that result from electronic equipment that no longer works. In the late 1980s a number of countries came together to sign the Basel Convention, an international treaty that prohibits the export of hazardous waste from developed nations to poorer countries.  There seems to have been some awareness at the time that the convention’s definitions would include hazardous materials in electronics. Today the Basel Action Network, an international nonprofit organization centered around helping enforce compliance with the treaty, runs the E-Waste Stewardship Project to help prevent the export of e-waste from first world countries to less developed ones. E-waste is a particular problem in the United States, not only because the US is one of the world’s largest consumers and manufacturers of electronic products that eventually wind up as e-waste, but because the United States never ratified the Basel Convention. Fortunately the problem of e-waste is becoming more visible in the United States, and some state governments have begun passing legislation directing that e-waste be recycled rather than dumped into landfills.

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