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The Problems with Waste. "Recycling.

The Problems with Waste

Ho hum. Everybody does it, but what difference does it make? That was my original reaction … How wrong I was! …Recycling has morphed into a new concept called "Zero Waste" and suddenly…’recycling’ is posing a fundamental challenge to ‘business as usual.’ Zero Waste has the potential to motivate people to change their lifestyles, demand new products, and insist that corporations and governments behave in new ways. . - Peter Montague, director of the Environmental Research Foundation. Green Choices - Environmental impacts of waste disposal. Disposing of waste has huge environmental impacts and can cause serious problems.

Green Choices - Environmental impacts of waste disposal

In the UK much is buried in landfill sites – holes in the ground, sometimes old quarries, sometimes specially dug. Some waste will eventually rot, but not all, and in the process it may smell or generate methane gas, which is explosive and contributes to the greenhouse effect. Waste Disposal. Each time you throw something as garbage, think of where it will finally end up.

Waste Disposal

Whether it is a plastic glass, your broken cell phone or the used up battery cells from your portable CD/MP3 player, they all contribute in some way to environmental pollution and are also hazardous to life. Not only are they biodegradable, but also disposing of them has their own risks as they release harmful toxins into the air and surrounding soil and ground water. This website provides a good glossary of technical terms used in this field. It explains in simple terms how waste accumulation affects the environment as hazardous substances, increases toxicity and ways in which the waste recirculates in the air and water, causing serious harm to humans and other life.

Apart from solid natural waste, there are other types of man-made wastes that are more hazardous to the environment. Living on Earth: E-waste Youth Activist. Air Date: Week of January 4, 2008 stream/download this segment as an MP3 file Alex Lin (Courtesy of Alex Lin) Living on Earth interviews Alex Lin, who won the Brower Youth Award for his pioneering work on electronic waste.

Living on Earth: E-waste Youth Activist

Lin recycled and refurbishes computers for kids in the U.S. and around the world. Transcript CURWOOD: One kid who needs no New Year’s resolutions on the environment is 14-year-old Alex Lin. When the electronic devices we use every day get taken apart or dumped, toxic substances, like lead, leech into the environment. And this year he received the prestigious Brower Youth Award for young environmental leaders. LIN: Thanks a lot. CURWOOD: So one day you’re reading the newspaper. LIN: I think what helped me choose to do this was that it’s such a little known problem, really. CURWOOD: So how many computers are you guys recycling? LIN: Recycling-wise we’re not really sure about the amount. CURWOOD: So it’s what—5,000 pounds a month or something like that? Alex Lin - Turning E-Waste Into E-Treasure. Alex Lin was a boy who was just reading the newspaper one day.

Alex Lin - Turning E-Waste Into E-Treasure

He read an article about something called e-waste. He learned that it is the waste generated as people upgrade electronic devices. When people are done with things like computers, phones, mp3 players, etc. and throw them away, that’s e-waste. He also learned that e-waste is dangerous to the environment. Yet this was not something that was not widely known. To help stop e-waste, Alex got help from his community service group, the Westerly Innovations Network (WIN). Additional Resources: Here is an article about Alex and his efforts.Here is an interview with Alex.Click here for more InspireMyKids stories about the environment.Find great books in our store, like Acting for Nature, about how children can help the environment.This video is about recycling e-waste.

Topics for Discussion: Think about all the electronics families have. Take Action: Teacher Features: Alex Lin, Teenage Activist. He's overseen the recycling of 300,000 pounds of e-waste.

Alex Lin, Teenage Activist

He's successfully lobbied the Rhode Island state legislature to ban the dumping of electronics. He's used refurbished computers to create media centers in developing countries like Cameroon and Sri Lanka to foster computer literacy. He’s Alex Lin and he’s just 16 years old. “I don’t see anything uncommon in it,” says Lin, a high school senior from Westerly, Rhode Island.

“My friends and I have been doing this since fifth grade. Lin’s catalytic moment came in 2004 when he chanced upon a Wall Street Journal article. E-waste, or electronics garbage, is the fastest growing section of the U.S. trash stream. While there is no federal law banning e-waste, 20 states have passed legislation mandating statewide e-waste recycling. If only the states with e-waste laws in their 2010 legislative pipeline—Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Utah, to name a few—had an Alex Lin at their disposal. The Rise of E-Waste, the Birth of Team WIN. E-waste info.