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The problem of electronic waste in Germany

16 posts in this topic

Posted

Right then,

I've been a huge fan of Germany's recycling for years - we religiously sort our stuff into paper, plastic and the rest. When I bought my house the trailer we used for the move ended up used almost weekly to empty our place of building dust, old wood and rubble from buidling projects. I'd take it down to the local recycling hof. However having inherited the old wartime mentality from my parents, I do tend to dip in for stuff like plant pots, the odd metal candelabra, and also electronic waste. What I really enjoy is taking someone's old electro toy and giving it another lease of life.

So here is my question. Jeremy Irons has made a new film regarding waste. I know where all my local green waste goes - into the local composter which churns it out as soil 6 months later which ends up on my garden - I've over the years dumped about 15 tonnes on my soil.

What is happening to the electronic waste? I love digging up old computer gear, cleaning it up and reusing the stuff. I have a wireless LAN that way. I understand there are charities which take old laptops and refurchish them to send to Africa to help the poor, but I can't find anything in Germany. Any leads? I hate the idea of German e-waste going to poor countries and kids stripping out the parts for pennies, with all the polltion that entails.

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Posted

You can give them to the Romanian an Bulgarian guys who rifle through the bulk rubbish. They seem to love stuff like that, I have no idea what they do with it but I am sure they can use it. And there are charities like that in Germany as well.

Sozialkaufhaus eg if they still work.

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Posted

You can give your old mobile phones to Deutsche Umwelthilfe. I just sent a classic Nokia 3210 worth 29 cents to them. Maybe some kid in Africa will be using it soon I hope.

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Posted

I hate the idea of German e-waste going to poor countries and kids stripping out the parts for pennies

Considering there are companies in Germany that will actually pay for electronic waste in order to strip out the contained metals (on the order of up to a couple thousand Euro for a container...), that's not really a problem here.

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Posted

Simples !..just make sure you leave it out the afternoon before spermüll it always vanishes before it hits the ground sometimes..we have men in transits come around and ask for it specifically if they see you dumping stuff.

<-@

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Posted

perhaps we will see these here soon...

http://www.economist.com/news/21567194-recycling-technology-robot-kiosk-will-assess-value-your-unwanted-electronic-devices-and

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Posted

my next door neighbour is from the Ivory Coast and he buys an old van once a year with no tuv and packs it full with laptops, computers, fridges,stuff he buys von ebay dirt cheap and he ships the lot for about 1000 € to Africa.

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Posted

(maybe some of it is).

There are companies that sell old clothing torn down into rags for industrial cleaning (in 10-kg packs). Though once it's been through that it's not really recyclable any more.

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Posted

In Switzerland, back in the day - I have no idea if this is still the case, and I've not lived in Switzerland for many years, thus the qualifier - several of the big Behindertenwerkstätte (sheltered workshop, i.e. employment opportunity for handicapped individuals) made great rugs out of shredded textiles.

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Posted

Do you folks really have no idea what happens to all that crap that gets sent off to Africa?

'refurchish [sic] them to send to Africa to help the poor'

What a laugh.

They pile all that crap up and burn it so they can extract valuable metals afterwards. Your e-waste is full of noxious poisons. Dreadful stuff.

Don't believe any of that bullshit about helping poor people or safe recycling. What is really happening is that we are extracting rare mineral resources from places like Africa (dripping in blood, sweat, and slave labour), using them in our useless gadgets, and then sending the whole mess back when we're finished with it.

You have to see the world situation as a microcosm of the paradox of household rubbish collection in any 'developed' country. We keep our homes spotlessly clean and orderly, and send our filth elsewhere so somebody else can deal with it. This works on a global scale. And our economies depend on it, so it isn't going to stop.

Separating rubbish and doing some nominal recycling is a petit bourgeois antidote to the nagging guilt that (should) come with living a completely unsustainable lifestyle.

Thoughts?

Read up on programmed/planned obsolescence, if you haven't already done so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence (suggested primer)

Then read up on what happens to e-waste that gets sent to Africa.

Top hits in a quick web search:

http://inece.org/ewaste/01_dittke.pdf

http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/01/31/e-dump-in-agbogloshie-west-africa/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120210110041.htm

http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=2667&ArticleID=9022&l=en

And so on.

The ultimate reality is that the only way we can really continue living the way we do is by keeping most of the rest of the world from enjoying the same standards. We need cheap labour, cheap resources, and a place to dump our waste. If the whole world lived like people in 'developed' countries, a) the price of energy resources, food, and raw materials would rise dramatically due to vastly increased demand, and B) the price of production would make many consumer goods unaffordable. See the hypocrisy in trying to 'save' the world's poor, or 'protecting the planet' by recycling a few odds and ends? Our entire economic system will have to change before either goal is even remotely reachable.

The short of it is that if you want to be an 'ethical consumer', then you probably shouldn't consume much of anything at all.

Sorry for the preaching. Just thought someone might find it useful/informative.

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Posted

Do you folks really have no idea what happens to all that crap that gets sent off to Africa?

'refurchish [sic] them to send to Africa to help the poor'

What a laugh.

They pile all that crap up and burn it so they can extract valuable metals afterwards. Your e-waste is full of noxious poisons. Dreadful stuff.

Don't believe any of that bullshit about helping poor people or safe recycling. What is really happening is that we are extracting rare mineral resources from places like Africa (dripping in blood, sweat, and slave labour), using them in our useless gadgets, and then sending the whole mess back when we're finished with it.

You have to see the world situation as a microcosm of the paradox of household rubbish collection in any 'developed' country. We keep our homes spotlessly clean and orderly, and send our filth elsewhere so somebody else can deal with it. This works on a global scale. And our economies depend on it, so it isn't going to stop.

Separating rubbish and doing some nominal recycling is a petit bourgeois antidote to the nagging guilt that (should) come with living a completely unsustainable lifestyle.

Thoughts?

Read up on programmed/planned obsolescence, if you haven't already done so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence (suggested primer)

Then read up on what happens to e-waste that gets sent to Africa.

Top hits in a quick web search:

http://inece.org/ewaste/01_dittke.pdf

http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/01/31/e-dump-in-agbogloshie-west-africa/

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120210110041.htm

http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=2667&ArticleID=9022&l=en

And so on.

The ultimate reality is that the only way we can really continue living the way we do is by keeping most of the rest of the world from enjoying the same standards. We need cheap labour, cheap resources, and a place to dump our waste. If the whole world lived like people in 'developed' countries, a) the price of energy resources, food, and raw materials would rise dramatically due to vastly increased demand, and the price of production would make many consumer goods unaffordable. See the hypocrisy in trying to 'save' the world's poor, or 'protecting the planet' by recycling a few odds and ends? Our entire economic system will have to change before either goal is even remotely reachable.

The short of it is that if you want to be an 'ethical consumer', then you probably shouldn't consume much of anything at all.

Sorry for the preaching. Just thought someone might find it useful/informative.

You said it better than me.

It does annoy me a bit how wealthy countries like Germany and elsewhere have this vision of the "third world" consisting of hunger and poverty and little else, and that they should be grateful for any crumbs and cast offs they receive from us.

On returning back from a trip to India a German (university educated) asked me "is it bad there?" I said, what do you mean? She: "well, the hunger". I replied: "there's practically no real hunger in India nowadays - the country is able to provide the food it needs (for over 1 billion people), and food in India is cheap - that's why the population is able to increase so fast".

She just looked at me like I was crazy.

I think many people in Germany have this vision of everywhere outside Europe, US and Japan being just mud huts and Biafra.

(and the service was also much better in India by the way).

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Posted

Probably because they think of Bangladesh and all the pictures charities use to make them donate. And German schoolbooks are not up to date.

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Posted

The charities are as often as not self-aggrandising do-gooders who really do no good. Many people will throw money at problems far, far away so they feel good about themselves, yet not lift a finger to help people at home. It's hypocrisy at its finest.

A while back, a guy from Nigeria told me that people back home used to be happy with old cast-off mobile phones from Europe. Now they want the latest models.

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Posted

A while back, a guy from Nigeria told me that people back home used to be happy with old cast-off mobile phones from Europe. Now they want the latest models.

:lol: Ungrateful lot. Getting choosy now. Was going to send them my old iPhone, but...if it ain't good enough.

I think it's better to let countries establish businesses and trade rather than killing trade through charity. The price levels adjust within the country to allow for the local purchasing power. Well maybe not for iPhones and Macbooks and the like, but for clothing and other stuff.

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Posted

" There is practically no real hunger in India"

Hm, the World Food Program of the UN and many other sources state that at least 20% up to more than 30 % of the people in Indian, Bangla Desh, Pakistan and Myanmar suffer from starvation and malnutrition.

That is for India alone some 200 million people. Just as much as there are living in Germany, France and the UK altogether.

Food prices are up there and the miserable logistic leads to enormous losses of crop from the producer to the consumer. All well known problems , so a statement that the hunger problem has been solved there is just showing ignorance . Because walking in a well provided supermarket in Dehli doens't give the full picture.

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