[GRRN] Re[2]: computers sold & EPR

Brown, Rebecca (rebecca.brown@ci.woodland.ca.us)
Tue, 28 Sep 1999 10:05:00 -0700

I, too, am curious about what to do with computer systems and all their
paraphernalia. Donations won't take care of all the computers we have sitting
around (and many groups don't want "obsolete" systems any more than the donor
does). The computer industry is creating tremendous amounts of waste from
beginning to end. I'm beginning to think that this industry is creating more
pollution that auto industry. How can we go about getting mfgs. to "take it
back", especially when we're talking about small generators like homeowners,
churches, small businesses, etc.?

Thanks for your questions, Cindy.

Rebecca Brown
Waste Reduction/Recycling Coordinator
City of Woodland

____________________Reply Separator____________________
Subject: Re: computers sold & EPR
Author: "Cindy Shea" <cpshea@earthlink.net>
Date: 9/28/99 9:14 AM

From: Cindy Shea
Date: Tue, Sep 28, 1999 9:14 AM
Subject: Re: computers sold & EPR
To: greenyes@earthsystems.org; multiple recipients of; Ted Smith
Hi Ted,

Thanks for sharing this information on obsolete computers. Your numbers make a
compelling case for implementing a system of extended producer (or product)
responsibility. Are you aware of any government or private sector efforts
designed to take back residential systems? Do you know what share of computers
sold goes to the residential market? I know that processors and drives become
quickly obsolete, but I'm guessing there's a mountain of cables, housings, and
speakers that could be cost-effectively recovered if the computers were
with disassembly and recycling in mind. Please share your thoughts on viable

Cindy Pollock Shea
Contributing Editor
Florida Sustainable Communities Center

Ted Smith wrote:

> The Clean Computer Campaign is about to publish a brochure about the
> growing problem of obsolete computers and the need to re-design our
> information systems. Following is a draft of the opening section of the
> brochure. References are avaiable if you are interested. Comments are
> welcome!
> Ted Smith
> ========================
> There is a growing and imminent waste crisis about to hit the USA -
> computer junk.
> "I have discovered that they are excellent at collecting dust and holding
> up bags of rice, but other than that, I am at a loss to know where to
> unload this stuff."
> quoted in "USA sitting on mountain of obsolete PCs" in USA Today, June
> 22, 1999.
> Computer junk is growing at an escalating rate throughout North America and
> consumers do not know what to do with it. Over three-quarters of all
> computers ever bought in the USA are stored in people's attics, basements,
> office closets and pantries. If everyone disposed of these, the US would
> face an immediate huge waste problem.
> A recent US study found that over 315 million computers will become
> obsolete by the year 2004 - and this is an underestimate. Reliable numbers
> were not available for the number of computers manufactured between 1980
> and 1992 .
> Americans are buying more computers than any other nation. Currently over
> 50% of US households owns a computer .
> Computer junking is also happening at a faster rate. The lifespan of
> computers is decreasing. In 1997, the average lifespan of a computer tower
> was 4-6 years and computer monitors 6-7 years . This will soon fall to 2
> years before 2005.
> Industry experts predict that by the year 2005, one computer will become
> obsolete for every new one put on the market .
> Most computers that are disposed of are landfilled because only 14% of
> junked computers are recycled or donated.
> By the end of 1999, another 24 million computers in the United States will
> become obsolete. Only 14 % or 3.3 million of these will be recycled or
> donated. The rest -- about 20.6 million computers in the U.S. -- will be
> dumped, incinerated, shipped as waste exports or put into temporary storage
> .
> For the three years between 1997 and 1999, it is estimated that some 50
> million U.S. computers will have either been dumped, burned, shipped abroad
> or stored to await eventual disposal.
> Computer monitor recycling is no better. Over 300 million computer
> monitors have been sold in the USA since 1980. Yet, in 1997 only 1.7
> million monitors in the US were "recycled", and the majority of those --
> about 1 million monitors -- were shipped abroad to countries such as China!
> In 1998 only 6 percent of computers were recycled compared to the numbers
> of new computers put on the market that year. In contrast, for major
> appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners, refrigerators,
> dryers, dishwashers and freezers, the proportion recycled in 1998 was about
> 70 percent of the number put on the market that year.
> Of the small percentage of computers that are recycled, more than
> three-quarters come from large scale users of equipment. Individuals and
> small businesses contribute only a small fraction of the equipment that is
> recycled because there are no effective collection or recycling programs
> in place .


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---------- Received: from gaea.envirosystemsinc.com by paris.fabrik.com with SMTP (Fabrik F07.3-000) id SINN.14547930@paris.fabrik.com ; Tue, 28 Sep 1999 09:18:44 -0700 Received: (from list@localhost) by gaea.earthsystems.org (8.8.6/8.6.9) id MAA03991; Tue, 28 Sep 1999 12:17:35 -0400 Resent-Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 12:17:26 -0400 Message-ID: <37F0E96A.5B81C9F6@earthlink.net> Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 12:14:34 -0400 From: Cindy Shea <cpshea@earthlink.net> MIME-Version: 1.0 To: Ted Smith <tsmith@igc.org>, "greenyes@earthsystems.org" <greenyes@earthsystems.org> Subject: Re: computers sold & EPR References: <> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Resent-Message-ID: <"LixKaD.A.I9.WoO83"@gaea> Resent-From: greenyes@earthsystems.org Precedence: list Resent-Sender: greenyes-request@earthsystems.org Resent-To: multiple recipients of <greenyes@earthsystems.org>