US scrap tire disposition

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Scrap Tire Disposition
Cut/punched stamped 2%

source: "Figure 2. U.S. Scrap Tire Disposition, 2003," in U.S. Scrap Tire Markets: 2003 Edition, Rubber Manufacturers Association, Washington, DC, July 2004, https://www.rma.org/publications/ scrap_tires/index.cfm?PublicationID=11302&CFID=2451774& CFTOKEN=57977325 (accessed August 4, 2005)

discussed in a July 2001 article by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) titled ''Obsolete Computers, Gold Mine or High-Tech Trash?'' The article notes that a typical personal computer (PC) becomes obsolete in 2-5 years. The USGS estimates that up to twenty million PCs per year become obsolete in the United States. Studies performed in the late 1990s indicated that consumers seldom discarded old computers. Many were kept as a back-up or given away. However, disposal is expected to become more common as new computer sales increase.

According to the USGS report, approximately 2.6 million personal computers were recycled in the United States in 1998. The agency projected that fifty-five million PCs would be landfilled in 2005 and one-hundred-fifty million would be recycled. Figure 7.8 is a materials flow diagram developed by the USGS to show the processes involved in disposal and recycling of obsolete computers and their parts.

Computers and other electronic devices contain materials that are valuable for reuse, particularly metals, plastics, and glass. The most common metals in PCs are aluminum, steel, and copper. Small amounts of precious metals, such as gold, palladium, platinum, and silver, are also found in computer circuit boards. Some of the metals used in PCs (antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium,

What happens to obsolete computers and their components

*Cathode ray tubes source: "Figure 2. A Generalized Materials Flow Diagram Illustrating What Happens to Obsolete PCs and Their Components," in Obsolete Computers,"Gold Mine," or High-Tech Trash? Resource Recovery from Recycling, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, July 2001, http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs060-01/ fs060-01.pdf (accessed August 4, 2005)

*Cathode ray tubes source: "Figure 2. A Generalized Materials Flow Diagram Illustrating What Happens to Obsolete PCs and Their Components," in Obsolete Computers,"Gold Mine," or High-Tech Trash? Resource Recovery from Recycling, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, July 2001, http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs060-01/ fs060-01.pdf (accessed August 4, 2005)

cobalt, lead, mercury, and selenium) are classified as hazardous by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and cannot be disposed of in municipal solid waste landfills.

The primary source of plastics is the computer casing. Plastic can be melted down to produce new materials or used as a fuel in certain industrial processes. Most of the glass content of computers is in cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. This glass contains lead, which is a hazardous material. However, the glass can be reused to produce new CRTs.

According to the USGS, more than fifty-two thousand metric tons of steel, glass, plastic, and other materials were recovered by United States electronics recyclers in 1998 (the latest year for which data are available).

In 2003 the state of California passed legislation called the Electronic Waste Recycling Act. This act requires electronic manufacturers to reduce the amount of hazardous substances used in specific electronic products sold in California. It also established a funding mechanism to ensure that these products are properly collected and recycled at the end of their useful lives. In 2005 retailers began collecting fees from consumers purchasing certain electronic products (primarily CRTs and other display products). The money is turned over to the state and distributed to qualified companies engaged in collecting and recycling the products.

According to a July 2005 article in The Mercury News of San Jose, California, the electronics recycling program has been successful so far (Karl Schoenberger, "E-Waste Recycling Program Hits Stride,'' July 19, 2005). The article notes that California has garnered $15 million in collected fees from retail outlets. Approximately $6 million of this amount has been distributed to recycling companies. Although there have been complaints about the amount of paperwork involved in the recycling process, in general, the program is considered to be running well across the country. In 2004 California passed a similar recycling bill that applies to cell phones. It goes into effect in July 2006.

CHAPTER 8

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