Almost everything you know about e-waste is wrong

Read the full post at The Conversation.

Many of us think we know what electronic waste is because we wonder what to do with devices we no longer want or need.

It’s the old cellphone and its charger stuffed in the drawer.

It’s that old laptop, monitor or printer packed behind the door or in the basement.

It’s also all those things we throw out that are exported overseas, and picked over by people who are either desperate for work, despite the health and environmental risks, or at the forefront of a new green economy, depending on the narrative you hear.

But it is far more than all of that.

Waste arises ubiquitously, but unevenly, throughout the lives of electronics, not only when users discard their devices. No amount of post-consumer recycling can recoup the waste generated before consumers purchase their devices.

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