電器回收有一套! 美國制定「負責任」電器回收守則 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

電器回收有一套! 美國制定「負責任」電器回收守則

2008年11月07日
摘譯自2008年11月3日ENS美國華府報導;范仕穎編譯;禾引、莫聞審校

American e-waste in Africa. (Photo credit unknown)隨著越來越多的製造商負起相關的責任,回收老舊無用的電器是越來越方便了,例如戴爾電腦和Goodwill在這個星期就宣布了「Reconnect」的回收行動,免費回收紐約市和東紐約州地區的電腦。

不論品牌、不論電腦的狀況,「Reconnect」提供消費者免費的回收服務,消費者可以在以下的網址找到最方便的31個回收點。www.reconnectpartnership.com.

這個活動的目標是2009年的垃圾掩埋場中可以減少165萬磅的廢棄電腦和其配件,並且支持Goodwill的訓練及工作計畫,還教育消費者在丟棄老舊電腦時的綠色責任。

但是被收集站收集了之後,這些老舊電器的下一站是哪裡?

環保人士控訴雖然有某些回收商負起了處置的責任,但是仍有些把含有毒性物質(例如鉛和水銀)的壞損電器運往海外或是美國監獄,當地以對工人及環境有害的方式,將這些電器解體。

矽谷毒物聯盟警告多達80%以上的美國廢電器被運往開發中國家,當地貧困的工人和小孩在沒有妥善保護的情況之下,將含有毒性的零件焚燒、擊碎之後丟棄。

只有10%的電腦是用正當的管道回收處置的。

有些州有回收電器的法律,但其中的規定也是南轅北轍。

為了教育回收商如何回收老舊電器,美國環保署於10月31日發表了一份準則,說明如何以安全又環保方式回收電器。

美國環保署發表了「負責任的回收-鑑定認證的電器回收商的實踐行動」,這份準則希望可以提升電器回收業間的環保、勞工安全和公共健康意識。

這份準則是由聯邦和州立政府、電器製造商、回收商和工會一起發展出來的。

負責任的回收準則列舉了13項原則以幫助電器回收商確保他們在美國和其他國家以安全合法的方式處置原料。

這份準則也鼓勵回收商回收再使用從掩埋場或焚化爐出來的原料,並減少回收流程的污染排放。

同時也呼籲回收商在整體回收鏈之中注意物件的安全管理,包括輸出到其他國家的材料。

這份準則特別重視某些特別有害的物件,像是老舊的CRT顯示器、電池和含有鉛和多氯聯苯(PCB)的物品,不論是存在產品之中或是分散為零件之後。

電路板也被視為重點項目,除非上面的電池或含鉛物體已經移除,而本身也是無鉛產品。

在九月時國會的調查機構,國會總審計局發出了一份的報告批評了環保署對廢棄電器中的有毒物質缺乏管理,而這個新的準則也許可以解決這份報告中提及的議題。

想知道更多關於這個負責任的回收新準則的訊息,請按此here

想知道更多有關矽谷毒物聯盟的製造商的延伸責任,請按此here

Electronics Recyclers Held to New National Guidelines
WASHINGTON, DC, November 3, 2008 (ENS)

Recycling obsolete electronics is getting easier and more convenient as more manufacturers take responsibility for collecting and recycling older, unwanted equipment. Dell Computers and Goodwill, for instance, this week launched Reconnect, a free computer recycling service in the greater New York city and eastern New York state area.

Reconnect offers consumers free recycling for any brand of computer equipment in any condition.

Consumers can find the most convenient of 31 drop-off locations at www.reconnectpartnership.com.

Program goals are to divert 1.65 million pounds of used computers and computer equipment from area landfills over the next year; support Goodwill旧 job training and creation programs; and provide consumer education on the importance of environmentally-responsible computer disposal.

But once collected, what happens to the old electronics?

They go to recyclers, and environmentalists have complained that while some recyclers are responsible, others ship broken electronics containing toxic materials, such as lead and mercury, overseas or into the U.S. prison system, where they are dismantled in conditions harmful to workers and the environment.

The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition warns that up to 80 percent of U.S. e-waste is exported to developing countries where toxic components are burned, dumped or smashed apart by impoverished workers and children without proper protection.

Only 10 percent of unwanted and obsolete computers are recycled responsibly, according to the coalition.
Some, but not all, states have e-waste and recycling laws, and even those vary widely.

In an effort to educate recyclers disassembling or reclaiming used electronics equipment, the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency Friday issued a new guide on how to run safe and environmentally protective recycling operations.

The EPA, as part of a group of recycling stakeholders, developed the "Responsible Recycling, Practices for Use in Accredited Certification Programs for Electronics Recyclers" to promote better environmental, worker safety, and public health practices for electronics recyclers.

The workgroup that developed the guidelines includes federal and state governments, electronics manufacturers and recyclers, and trade associations.

The Responsible Recycling guide lists 13 principles to help electronics recyclers ensure their material is handled safely and legally in the United States and foreign countries.

Recyclers are encouraged to promote reuse and material recovery over landfill or incineration and use practices that reduce exposures or emissions during recycling operations.

The guide also calls for recyclers to use diligence to assure safe management of materials throughout the recycling chain, including materials that are exported to foreign countries.

Materials that are particularly harmful are the focus of the guidelines. Focus materials are the old-fashioned rectangular kind of monitors called cathode ray tubes and the glass they contain; batteries; and items containing mercury and/or polychlorinated biphenyls both in end-of-life equipment and when separated as components.

Circuit boards, unless they have had batteries and mercury-containing items removed and are lead free, are also considered focus materials.

The new guidelines may settle concerns raised by a report in September by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative branch of Congress, that criticized the EPA for lack of enforcement of hazardous waste regulations with respect to e-waste.

For information about the new EPA guidelines, click here.

For information from the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition on extended producer responsibility, click here.