Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 22, 2019

Earth Concerns News

E-waste: What Is It and What Can We Do About it? by Sister Debbie Timmis, CSJ

If you are surfing the net these days, you may come across a new word in the world of technology and the environment – e-waste. defines e-waste as. “Discarded electronics. Every year, there is an enormous number of computer and electronic devices that become obsolete and are thrown in the trash. Lead, cadmium, mercury and other toxic materials used in this equipment can contaminate the environment.” (and I would add here, especially the ground water as these dangerous chemical seep into our soil and pollute our water) In the field of Technology, which rapidly changes, items are discarded as they become obsolete almost overnight. Some types of e-waste are:

As you may be aware of from the list above, these products are generally not biodegradable or Earth friendly. Some steps are being taken by computer manufactures to produce products that will not be damaging to our environment. This cause is being led by consumers who are demanding products that can be recycled and not pollute our Earth further.  “In fact, the consumer market -- not legislation -- is responsible for perpetuating the lead-free momentum. Manufacturers who jump on the lead-free bandwagon now will have the market advantage -- the sooner the better.” The biggest concern at this point is to eliminate the use of lead in manufacturing computers. Europe and Japan have placed moratoriums on production of computers with lead.

Now to the second part of the title, “What can We Do About it?”  I have composed a list of some simple steps you can take to help protect our environment from e-waste. This list is not an exhaustive list but steps that stand up to my measurement of doable and practical. You may want to add some of your own.

v       Recycle old computer parts and make sure they don’t become part of our landfills. The city of Albany with the help of local vendors has held an annual electronics recycling day at Heritage Park. Once a year recycling may not be convenient when you want to clear a room or closet. A company that I work with closely is Phoenix Technology which recycles computer parts, rebuilds computers and gives them to those who do not have access to computers, especially children. You can contact Phoenix at 518-245-8049 or at

v       Read about e-waste and recycling initiatives at and join a forum which discusses aspects and solutions to this problem world wide.

v       Lobby for responsible legislation concerning e-waste. This information is a click away at Computer Take Back .

For a complete list of information and web sites, email me at


(October 2005)