Encourages recycling of electronic devices

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 16, 2014 

Americans throw more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers away every day. Approximately 80 percent of electronic waste delivered to recyclers is actually exported to developing countries. This is often done because health and labor policies, I believe, are inadequate or not enforced. Places such as Ghana; Guiyu, China, and Delhi, India, receive this electronic waste and make their living by taking the products apart and extracting precious substances such as copper, gold and iron.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country that has refused to ratify the Basal Convention - a treaty designed to regulate the export of hazardous waste to developing nations. It is cheaper for U.S. companies to send e-waste overseas. We are culprits of what I see as environmental injustice. However, there is a way to take a stand.

Rather than throwing gadgets away, citizens of Whatcom County can donate their items or they can take their old and used electronics to the electronic recycling facility RELelectronics in Bellingham. Their mission is "to solve the problem of e-waste in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan counties in an environmentally safe and socially conscience way."

Shannon Maxon

Bellingham

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