Thoughtless disposal of computer hardware contaminate our entire ecosystem. The hazardous materials such as lead, metals, cadmium and mercury found in different computer components have severe impact on environment and the consequences could be far detrimental. Over 30 percent of Monitor’s weight consists of dangerous lead materials. Depending upon the size of the monitor, it could be up to four to eight pounds of lead. Considering upon the damaging factors, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has felt the necessity of making the computer disposal law quite intricate.
As of 2010, EPA has not specifically set up any parameter for computer recycling; but many countries such as the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan etc. have shown their concern for recycling old and obsolete computers. The Environmental Protection Agency spreads awareness about comprehensive range of hazardous chemicals that computer equipments and other electronic items contain, and their dangerous consequences on environment as well as on human health. Moreover, EPA has published some significant guidelines such as if CRT monitors are less than a year old and still is in working condition then they can’t be treated as hazardous waste; rather, they should be made reusable after bringing specific changes. EPA urges the manufacturing companies to ask their customers to exchange their old monitors if they are purchasing new ones. Such strategies will definitely help reduce the rate of pollution.
Dangerous Waste Disposal Laws
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) implements the strategies to deal with old and obsolete computer components as hazardous waste. For example, RCRA instructs the recyclers to consider shredded circuit board waste to be extremely hazardous, and also that it should be kept it in tight containers. RCRA warns against leaving it in open since it’ll cause tremendous damage to environment.
Implementation of waste disposal law also depends on the quantity of hazardous waste that an organization creates. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act has declared certain exemptions on recycle companies. For example, the waste out of recycling will not be considered as waste. The same is applicable on individual users.
Considering over the seriousness of the situation, there are three kinds of penalties, known as CRT guidelines that have been set by EPA. These are: ‘Cost saving’ that accounts for avoiding the law, ‘Gravity component’ that accounts for the damages caused by the person, the group of people or the company, and ‘adjustment factor’ that accounts for the violator’s environmental history and the level on which the violator is cooperating with the investigation agencies.
According to Government Accountability Office (GAO), CRT guidelines are not strict and effective enough to curb the increasing hazardous waste. GAO reports that EPA had done little to determine the degree of noncompliance. Moreover, the penalties are usually small amounts and the companies involved are reluctant to abide by the EPA guidelines.
It is the responsibility of EPA, CRT and all citizens to save the global environment and future generation.