Friday, July 13, 2018

Skewing the Stats--A Greenie Crime

I wrote a letter to the NYTimes on an article in last week's NYTimes magazine:

When I read Brook Larmer’s article: “E-Waste Offers an Economic Opportunity as Well as Toxicity”Image” I was very surprised.  According to the article the US generates 42 pounds of e-waste per person per year.  For our 2-person household, our PC, laptop, cellphones and TV would barely amount to 100 pounds.  We don’t replace those items very often.  Something seemed off.
 So I did a little googling on the UN University site, finding this: “The weight of e-waste generated worldwide in 2016, including used refrigerators, TVs, personal computers and cellphones, was up by 8 percent from 2014, when the previous study into the problem was conducted.”
Turns out UNU defines e-waste as anything that uses electricity, not just electronic gear. (

Including all kitchen appliances, lamps, etc. in “e-waste” certainly gives a bigger headline figure, but are the problems in recycling appliances really the same as in handling cellphones and laptops?
In answer to my question--I don't think so.  Maybe in the future when everything is on the internet, but not now.

I should also note that this isn't peculiarly a failing of the environmentalist movement; everyone and her brother do it.

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