No Such Thing As Eco-Friendly CE

Some good news out of the Canberra this morning as Environment Minister Peter Garrett has agreed in principle that a national e-waste recycling system needs to be put in place, even if a tax is attached.

Currently, when people finish with an old computers or other CE gear, they either chuck it out with the council recycling, or in some cases, councils will have computer waste collection days.

So what kind of dangers lurk in your computer or old CRT TV? Plenty. There is lead, mercury and cadmium in many of these products. Capacitors, transformers and wires are usually insulted with PVC, which can contain cancer-causing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).

That aside, a lot of the componentry in computers,VCRs and mobile phones contain valuable metals that can be reused, so it is not only about a clean environment, but about making the most of your resources. So, well done to Peter Garrett, and let’s hope he pushes forward with the scheme. It does help that manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Apple support such an idea.

As an aside, I would also like to have a quick word about the term ‘eco-friendly’. This term is usually banded about by vendors when trying to persuade consumers that their product is more friendly to the environment than the opposition’s goods.

I take issue with that description, as anything with any plastic part to it, or internal mechanisms that include metallic alloys and compounds etc is not eco-friendly. They do deserve a pat on the back for reducing the amount of pollutants, or using recycled products, but at the end of the day, if it isn’t grown naturally, or can decompose in quick, smart time, it isn’t eco-friendly.