Farhat Arian Individual Project

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Welcome to Recycling E-Waste in Durham, NC. I’m your host, Arian Farhat, and today, we’ll be talking all about e-waste recycling and available resources to all you folks here in the city of Durham!

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Do you ever think about where your phone or iPad goes when you want to get the newest model? Or are you wondering what to do with an older device that’s tucked into a drawer somewhere?

These are all questions with very wide-scale answers. But, you may very well be able to make a world of difference in the ongoing fight for environmental justice, public health, and social equity after this podcast. And it only takes about a 10 minute drive from where you currently live here in Durham to be able to do your part.

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E-waste is an increasingly important issue in our world today, especially with the ever-growing amount of electronics and electric devices that are being purchased, used, then discarded as technology advances and newer features arise. “This idea of pushing consumers to buy new items quickly by artificially reducing the lifespan of products is hardly new,” an article from The Atlantic states. Even so, in the past, in the present, and evermore so in the future, this “raises concern about air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, information security, and even human exploitation. Air can be polluted when scavengers burn electronic waste to get the copper. If not disposed of properly, toxins from electronic waste can enter the soil and water supplies.”

According to a United Nations Environment Program report titled “Waste Crimes,” “up to 50 million tons of electronic waste—mainly computers and smartphones—are expected to be dumped in 2017. That’s up 20 percent from 2015, when about 41 million tons of electronic waste was discarded, mostly into [developing] countries serving as global landfills” (Ahmed)

So what can you do? Your part may be an individual one, but it is an important one. You have many options here in Durham to make wise decisions on recycling your electronics.

Durham County residents such as yourself can reuse or donate, an option that can be explored by calling a nearby thrift store (Computer). Your donation can make a world of difference for people affected by domestic or sexual assault, family violence, or human trafficking under the care of Durham Crisis Response Center (Donate).

Another option is to “bring your non-working items to the City of Durham’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Center located at 2115 E. Club Boulevard in Durham” by calling 919-560-1200 (Computer). They “accept e-waste at no charge from residential users” and their “e-waste vendor subscribes to the ISO standards management system and is R2 qualified” (Electronics Recycling). If there are larger generators of such e-waste, the North Carolina recycling market directory is a wonderful resource to look into for appropriate options (Electronics Recycling).

If you are looking for other local companies, Earth 911 is another resource to investigate and even make a new purchase while also setting up a plan for the older device you are planning to dispose of (Electronics Recycling).

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Well folks, I hope you’ve learned a little more about e-waste and proper steps you can take to be more environmentally friendly in your choices and practices. Thank you for tuning in, and until next time!

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Works Cited

  • Ahmed, S. F. (2016, September 29). The Global Cost of Electronic Waste. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/09/the-global-cost-of-electronic-waste/502019/. 
  • Computer & Electronic Waste. (n.d.). Durham County. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://www.dconc.gov/county-departments/departments-f-z/general-services/solid-waste-recycling-and-litter-control/computer-electronic-waste
  • Donate to Durham Crisis Response Center. (n.d.). Durham Crisis Response Center. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://thedcrc.org/donate-to-the-durham-crisis-response-center/
  • Electronics Management | NC DEQ. (n.d.). NC DEQ. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/waste-management/solid-waste-section/electronics-management
  • Electronics Recycling. (n.d.). Durham, NC. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://durhamnc.gov/877/Electronics-Recycling
  • Environmental Assistance and Customer Service | NC DEQ. (n.d.). NC DEQ. Retrieved January 27, 2022, from https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/environmental-assistance-and-customer-service