High Tech Waste and Recycling

burningwire

Have you ever had a digital device that died? Even if you were responsible and took it to a recycling center, have you ever wondered what the recycling center does with dead digital devices? Sometimes devices such as phones, computers, laptops, tablets, plasma TVs, etc are just no longer wanted because their owners have upgraded. There are the options of selling and gifting your unwanted devices, but eventually those devices will either die or no longer be wanted by their new owners. Sooner or later all of these devices end up in trash heaps awaiting recycling. Most people think that by taking an unwanted or dead device to a recycling center that the recycling center actually recycles it by reworking it and then reselling it. This is true to an extent but what normally happens is the middle men, women, children, and country.

child in tech trash

To put it rather simplistically, the recycling centers in the US (as well as other developed countries) collect all of the unwanted or broken high tech devices. Then they are loaded onto ships and exported to third world countries where the devices are disassembled and end up in supposedly temporary trash heaps.

keyboard and mouse

digital gizmosPile of Waste - Electronic Waste Documentation (China: 2007)

Americans own over 2 billion pieces of high tech equipment and discard 5-7 million tons of electronic equipment each year. Add in the E-waste of other developed countries to all of this and this becomes a huge global issue.

Once this high tech trash reaches it’s destination it is sorted into like piles, disassembled, and then the recycling process begins–almost all  picked apart by hand (another reason all of your personal information should be wiped from any electronic device before it is discarded. Learn more about how to protect yourself by reading my post about Identity Theft).

cell-phone-landfills

In the majority of situations no safety equipment or precautions are used. Wires are stripped down by burning off the protective insulation.

ewasteland.burning.IMG_1121.360gpexport

Once the stripping of  electronics and burning processes begin, there are threats to human health and the environment because workers (who do not usually wear gloves or masks) are exposed to toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and various plastics to mention just a few. Not only is there danger of absorption through the skin, open wounds, cuts, etc but by burning off the wires, some of the toxins are airborne and may affect residents and animals in the area by forcing them to breathe in toxic fumes.

section_03_burning

Once the component parts are broken down and items like copper and other metals are harvested then they can be sold to high tech companies who then will use the materials to make more electronic devices and are thus recycled.

Elizabeth Grossman does a great job of describing this issue in depth in her book High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health.

High Tech Trash

It seems that all of our electronic equipment such as computers, cell phones, smart devices, etc is safe for human use as long as these devices remain intact. The toxins, health threats, and environmental threats do not occur until the e-waste recycling process begins.

Europe is light years ahead of the US in terms of understanding the significant threats created through the recycling process of high tech devices. Europe regulates which materials are used in high tech devices to begin with and also monitors e-waste recycling. The US has not officially recognized the ongoing threats to human health and the environmental effects of toxins in high tech devices and takes no active involvement in the recycling process.

Another book I checked out was Recycling by Rebecca Stefoff.

recycling

This book (as you can see) is usually now cataloged as a children’s book, but when first cataloged in 1993 by the Fulton County Public Library, it was put into the adult nonfiction section. Recycling was really just beginning to be widely practiced during the 90’s so this book was quite topical for it’s time. Because it’s now at least 24 years old, I will only mention it briefly as part of my read through of the Fulton County Public Library.  I believe that the majority of Dewey Hop readers are familiar with the basic concept of recycling.

Do you think the US should in any way regulate the recycling of high tech devices? Were you aware of threats to the environment or human health during the recycling process of electronics?

 

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The Mystery Blogger Award

The mystery bloggers award

Dewey Hop is once again honored to receive another award. This time it’s The Mystery Blogger Award. Many thanks to Melinda at purpleslobinrecovery for nominating Dewey Hop.

Okoto Enigma created this award as a means of helping bloggers connect and discover amazing blogs. This is what she says the The Mystery Blogger Award is for:

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve any of the recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

Here are the rules for accepting/nominating for this award:

  1. Post the award/ image on your blog .
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and give a link back to her blog.
  4. Nominate some deserving bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
  5. Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; including one weird or funny question.

So without further ado, here are the answers to the questions I received:

  1. If you could change one thing about our country, what would it be and why?

I would make abortion illegal. I believe in the sanctity of human life. Also, I consider killing an unborn child to be murder.

    2. Which super hero powers would you like to have, if given a chance? Why ?

Super speed like Super Man! I would like to have super speed because I could rush through annoying chores/house keeping, etc and then slow down for more enjoyable activities. I would be able to accomplish so much more each day!

     3. What motivates you to blog (write) ?

As far as the Dewey Hop blog, I blog because it’s part of my job at the Fulton County Public Library. I love reading the library books and getting to share what I’ve read about. Not only is this aspect of my job enjoyable, I’m learning a lot too! I also enjoy all the interaction with fellow bloggers.

As far as writing which isn’t my job–like the book I’m writing–I have several reasons. The main reason for the book is to keep a promise to my oldest tadpole. (For more info read Suicide and Survival.) It’s also a healing experience for me. I am hoping to help many others through very difficult circumstances of life because we’re all in this together!

     4. What is something you like to collect, if anything?  

I collect country angels. I will post a picture of a few of them.

 

Angels 041

Angels 027

Angels 028

All of these angels are on the top of my desk at home. I will spare you all the rest! Just take my word for it-there are a lot of them! The ones I collect are all hand crafted (although I didn’t make any of them).  I do have a few that were mass manufactured (none pictured in this post), but they look like hand crafted ones and mostly those are some that other people have given me but that fit in with my collection.

     5. If given the chance to rename any fast food restaurant, which would it be?                  What would it’s new name be?

I am not a big fan of fast food as most of it is unhealthy (although that is beginning to change with some menu choices). If I had to rename any fast food joints, it probably wouldn’t be nice names so, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” seems to apply here!

I am happy with the questions that were asked of me, so if my nominees would like to participate, please just use the same questions.

Should they choose to accept The Myster Blogger Award and participate, here are my nominations:

  1. Tierney – Tierney is truly a blogger who inspires and motivates! She is a versatile blogger as well. Not only does Tierney inspire and motivate in creative endeavers she’s also very thought provoking in sharing her thoughts about the audiobooks she loves to listen to. She also sometimes shares her hiking adventures, life with her dogs, and life with the other human in her household Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH).  I always look forward to her posts and adventures.
  2. Camie-Camie is a “new to me” blogger that I’ve only just discovered and she’s already an inspiration to me! She has a way of making events come to life through her writing. I enjoy all of the pictures she shares in describing her life events and adventures.
  3. Cale-Cale is a fun blogger who blogs about his life experiences through organizations, family, home, and work. He is very inspirational because he is always involved in different projects. He is pretty handy around his house and always has multiple projects going on on the homefront. He’s helping to build a cabin get away with his family. His energy level is always high and he’s “real” in writing about his experiences. In addition to all of the above, he also does movie reviews which are always interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking Water

driking water

Have you ever wondered what’s actually in your drinking water?

Typical Tap Water Content:
  • Chlorine.
  • Fluorine compounds.
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Salts of: arsenic. radium. aluminium. copper. lead. mercury. cadmium. barium.
  • Hormones.
  • Nitrates.
  • Pesticides.

Tap Water Content – chemicals and contaminants in water

freshlysqueezedwater.org.uk/waterarticle_watercontent.php

The US used to have a pretty safe drinking water supply but with more and more chemicals being used in things like farming, landscaping, pest control (to only mention a few situations) our water supply is in jeopardy and already contaminated in many areas. To try to keep our drinking water free of bacteria and other harmful substances additives are sometimes used to kill bacteria and to assist in filtering out harmful substances.  Unfortunately many of the things being added to our water with the intent of helping us are the very things that may be creating some serious health problems.

Well water which isn’t exposed to air before entering your home may present problems with radon.  When exposed to air, radon evaporates quickly, so the problem with radon in water isn’t drinking it, but inhaling it. If your primary source of water is from a well, you will need to take special precautions when cooking, showering, filling your washing machine and filling your bathtub.

The Drinking Water Book

The Drinking Water Book: How to Eliminate Harmful Toxins from your Water by Colin Ingram explores these problems and many more.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates at least twenty thousand cases of cancer in the United States each year are caused by radon inhalation. p. 13

Additionally people may improperly dispose of all sorts of medications by flushing them down toilets or rinsing them down sinks along with household toxins found in cleaning supplies–all of which get into our water supply and may or may not get filtered back out of our water.

drugs in water

If you live in a city, you may want to request a copy of your utility’s test report. This report should tell you if there are any pollutants above government limits. (Be leery of any pollutants listed whether above government limits or not.) If the utility’s report shows any type of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) have your water tested for their presence. Even if radon isn’t listed on the utility report, you should inquire at your local health department to find out if high concentrations of radon have been detected in your area. If so, have your home tested for airborne radon. It’s possible that you may have other types of pollutants in your tap water in amounts too low to test or because the tests performed didn’t cover those pollutants. If you choose to test your water, it can either be done professionally or by an inexpensive self testing kit.

If your water source is from a well or a spring, it’s recommended that you get a test for bacteria at least once a year and preferably during the rainy season. Test for pollutants at least every two years and consider using a whole house water purification system if  your test is positive for any type of volatile organic chemicals. Just like city folks, you should find out about any reports in your area of high concentrations of radon and if there are these areas around you, you too should test your home for airborne radon.

Both city and country dwellers should us an alternative to drinking straight tap water. Here are a few alternatives to drinking straight tap water:

  1. Bottled Water– Bottled water is fairly inexpensive but not without it’s own set of problems. For instance, there aren’t  a lot of laws about bottled water and just because it’s bottled doesn’t mean it has been filtered. For example, I once bought a bottle of water and then read the side of it. It said it was from “The Municipality of …” If you ever see that, on a bottle of water, it’s probably just bottled tap water from another city. This would be the worst type of bottled water. If the water has actually been filtered it is a better alternative to straight tap water. Also, the plastic bottle itself can contribute to health issues unless it says it’s “BPA free.” All plastics (dishes, reusable water bottles, etc) should be BPA free for maximum protection of your health. Disposable plastics never degrade and therefore contribute to the pollution of the planet.
  2. Carbon Filters– are a good choice for filtering tap water that you intend to drink or cook with. This filtration systems can be attached directly to your sink or faucet easily and fairly inexpensively. Using a filtering pitcher such as a Brita is also a good thing. (Check to make sure it’s now available in BPA free.) Carbon filtering is one of the oldest and most reliable ways to filter water.
  3. Distilled Water– the practice of drinking only distilled water is hotly debated. Advocates claim that by drinking distilled water you will purify your body and be in glowing health. Opponents of this practice claim that by drinking only distilled water you deny your body essential minerals. If you choose to use this method be sure to eat many different types of organic fruits and vegetables. You will need the minerals and vitamins found in natural foods.
  4. Boiled Water– Boil water in a stainless steel, glass, or porcelin pot for about 10 minutes for maximum safety.  There has been a link made between naturally occurring aluminum in water with Alzheimer’s. Many people prefer to avoid using aluminum pots and pans due to the possible link with Alzheimer’s. The best think to do is boil water in a nonaluminum pot. If you will be storing water for drinking or cooking, you should store it in a glass container.

Don’t Drink the Water (Without Reading This Book): The Essential Guide to Our Contaminated Drinking Water and What You Can Do About It by Lono Kahuna Kupua A’O is another excellent book which explores all of the above issues and more.

Don't Drink the Water

In this book Kahuna Kupua A’O also explores drinking water from a health perspective and from a spiritual perspective. In particular I was impressed with his comments about dehydration which is a huge contributor to various ailments and diseases. Humans instinctively do not like the smell and taste of water that has been altered by chlorination and chemicals and often won’t drink it. This may or may not be a conscious decision. People may learn to avoid drinking water due to this instinct to avoid contaminated water and may only drink it if they are thirsty and can’t find an alternative drink. People who do this are usually already dehydrated–a process that begins from the inside out. Some health problems that can develop from chronic dehydration are: heart disease, asthma, ulcers, gastro-intestinal illnesses, high blood pressure, and arthritis. He goes on to say that he believes many other diagnosis that patients receive are actually misdiagnosed cases of dehydration.

We all must have water to survive and I hope this post has given you information to drink water more safely.

Do you filter your tap water? What do you do to help ensure your water supply is safe? Did you know about all the additives in our drinking water?

 

 

 

 

Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award-konacna

The Dewey Hop blog has once again been honored with an award! I would like to thank Cale at Diaries of a Scatterbrain for nominating Dewey Hop and for his constant support. Cale described Dewey Hop as “versatile, informative, fun, and original.”

In order accept this award, I must list the rules (slightly altered since I never could follow directions! 😉 ) :

THE RULES:

  • You have to thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  • Nominate bloggers of your choice.
  • Link the nominees and inform them about their nomination.
  • Share some facts about yourself.

NOMINEES:

I  (like Cale) will do my best to nominate people who really are versatile, informative, fun, and original. Bloggers, please don’t feel that you have to participate if you don’t want to, but you do deserve this honor whether you participate or not.

Tiereny – tierenycreates

Prepper -Prepper 365

The 20 Something Existential Crisis

Elizabeth – The Comfortable Coop

Brad – Under Western Skies

Kelley – kelleysdiy

Dolly – Kool Kosher Kitchen

FACTS:

  1. I recently lost 8.8 lbs.
  2. I am currently painting my living room. (I’m a wanna be interior designer.)
  3. The Mister and I will soon be touring MMS Aviation near Canton, Ohio. The Mister has been in negotiations with this missionary organization about doing an internship with them. The Mister would be fixing planes and helicopters for other missionaries as well as occassionally deploying to other countries to fix planes and helicopters for missionaries already in the field. Additionally, he would also be teaching students who are learning to fix aircraft.
  4. My RH factor is negative. I’ve recently been told that only about 15% of the US population is negative.
  5. I’ve recently learned to Marco Polo on my phone.

Thanks again to Cale at Diaries of a Scatterbrain for nominating Dewey Hop.