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Recycling The First World, in the Third

CmdrTaco posted about 12 years ago | from the reality-check dept.

Technology 609

simoncito writes "Ever wondered where that old useless printer ended up? BBC has a photo report about chinese villagers building ramshackle systems out of used and discarded first world computer parts. The effects on their surroundings are drastic - I never knew hardware was so poisonous." Worth a look if you aren't desensitized to suffering. Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a monitor?

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Good (0, Troll)

Radical_Dreamer (597725) | about 12 years ago | (#4127671)

Glad to know our waste goes to least were helping someone

Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a monitor (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127697)

"Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a monitor?"

Yes, throw it away. Fuck poor people.

Re:Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a moni (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127773)

Goods good to me

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127760)

Did you LOOK at the article? Can I hope you were perhaps joking?

Re:Good (1)

Radical_Dreamer (597725) | about 12 years ago | (#4127829)

yes, sorry, should have mentioned the actually pisses me off...people cant properly dispose of potentially dangerous objects...

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127677)


Blame M$! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127680)

After all, we wouldn't need to upgrade so often if we don't have the bloated disease known as Windoze 95/98/NT/2000/XP.

Re:Blame M$! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127699)

you forgot ME ;)

Re:Blame M$! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127772)

shut up bitch

Re:Blame M$! (1)

Loligo (12021) | about 12 years ago | (#4127878)

Of course.

There are no Linux / BSD users running on Athlon XP 2600's, because those lean mean operating systems don't need that much power, right?

The upgrade race has nothing to do with the OS. It has to do with geeks having dick-waving contests.

Proper way to dispose of a monitor... (2, Funny)

KirkH (148427) | about 12 years ago | (#4127692)

I always thought old monitors were supposed to sit around in your attic. Same goes for old printers.

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor... (5, Informative)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#4127798)

"I always thought old monitors were supposed to sit around in your attic."

1. If you can't use the monitor, then first look into local schools. I know that in Ontario, Canada, you can get a tax credit for donating used computer equipment to schools. My high school (according to my brother who still goes there) has about 4 computer labs for ~P100-266 machines from this program which still word process and surf fairly nicely.

2. If the monitor is broken and the cost of repair is more than a comprable new monitor, then there will be specialised safe disposal facilities at must garbage dumps. Chances are you have to drive there and drop it off yourself, but it's worth it in preventing the Lead, Arsenic, etc from getting into the water.

3. When getting a new CRT montior, make sure it conforms to at least TCO99 (there is a sticker) because these have environmentally conscious amounts of harmful chemicals in them, but should still be disposed of safely in the end.

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor... (2)

Deagol (323173) | about 12 years ago | (#4127801)

If I remember... once a year the EE department at Purdue would toss CRTs from the top of a parking garage. Made for interesting pictures. Don't know if the tradition is still around, but it was kinda amusing.

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor... (2)

coryboehne (244614) | about 12 years ago | (#4127813)

You know, that really makes me wonder what kind of toxins I'm storing, I mean I really do probably have nearly two tons of old hardware (no I'm not kidding, and it's mostly significant peices, trs-80's, wangs, ps2 (personal system2 not play station 2), apple IIe, etc.) I like to collect this old junk because I can then go plug one in fire it up and transport myself back to the "good ol days" when a mouse ran on the floor, and a computer system weighed in at about 200+lbs with a printer. So I wonder what kind of toxins they hold? Surely nothing to worry about if I'm not trying to extract the precious metals from them right?

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127816)

throw them all in the ocean

Taco, Google. Google, Taco. (2, Troll)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 12 years ago | (#4127696)

Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a monitor?

Got thirty seconds?

Google [] has a few suggestions regarding monitor disposal [] .

Question: What is the opposite of investigative reporting?

Re:Taco, Google. Google, Taco. (2, Funny)

laserjet (170008) | about 12 years ago | (#4127828)

Question: What is the opposite of investigative reporting?

Answer: Slashdot.

Slashdot is the Microsoft of Techie Sites (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127839)

Despite all the complaints users have against Slashdot editors, why does it seem like they often don't listen or care? Because no matter what they do, people keep coming. And they're right about this. Slashdot is popular. Why bother with peskying things like journalistic integrity, they wonder, we're just doing this for fun and we manage to get paid for it, too.

There's the clincher: why do they people come? Why do they pay? It is because Slashdot is the Microsoft of techie sites.

What do I mean by this? The reason people use Microsoft products is because everyone else is. No, this isn't peer pressure or a heard attitute, it is what economists call "Network Effects". The most-used platform will have the most applications, so it makes sense for almost everyone to standardize on one platform.

Discussion sites also have a network effect. There are tons of Linux sites, but the most interesting discussion is always on Slashdot. That's one of the reasons I keep coming. The discussions are best because that's where everyone else is. The Network Effect.

I don't think Bill Gates is evil, but I do think Microsoft's success has gone to his head. He thinks it is all about him and his employees. It's not. A small lead can be greatly magnified by Network Effects, and he ignores this, and has become arrogant as a result.

I think much the same about many of the Slashdot editors.

Re:Taco, Google. Google, Taco. (5, Insightful)

per unit analyzer (240753) | about 12 years ago | (#4127885)

I looked through some of the links that google returned and I was happy to find a few places that will "process" your monitor. However, what concerns me is that none of them outlined how they "process" your monitor. How can I be sure that "process" isn't a euphemism for "pack into a shipping container headed for China?" Anyone know of a link to a place that would definitely handle the hazardous waste in a proper manner? Or would you have to telephone/email some of these outfits and interrogate them to make sure?


Re:Taco, Google. Google, Taco. (1)

ShoeHead (40158) | about 12 years ago | (#4127907)

I agree with you, but the point of his little blurb at the end of the articles--besides making him feel better about being so lazy--is to encourage discussion.

It's what all great TV anchors do. Now, if he only punctuated and paused his speech with completely predictable fake drama...

The proper way to dispose of a copier ... (5, Funny)

slagdogg (549983) | about 12 years ago | (#4127701)

Two words ... Office Space.

Re:The proper way to dispose of a copier ... (1, Flamebait)

pete-classic (75983) | about 12 years ago | (#4127799)

Is that suppoesed to be funny?

The question was how to dispose of a monitor, and that was a fax machine in Office Space (and that fact was relevent).


Re:The proper way to dispose of a copier ... (1)

ignorant_newbie (104175) | about 12 years ago | (#4127872)

no, it was a printer. the printer had been harrassing them throughout the movie.

Re:The proper way to dispose of a copier ... (1)

thelinuxking (574760) | about 12 years ago | (#4127912)

The same procedure applies to monitors.

Re:The proper way to dispose of a copier ... (2)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | about 12 years ago | (#4127866)

""Two words ... Office Space."

I actually did this once.

One time I was working as a co-op student technician at a university and there were a whole pile of really old non-working monitors and other boxen. I was given the task one day of disposing all of these in the dumpster, so I took them down on a cart and had a fun time dropkicking and lobbing them without fear of damanging something important. I actually grabbed one of the boxes out and tossed it in again just for fun.

This was a fun change from imaging hard drives, building machines, software development, etc.

How to dispose of a monitor??? (1, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | about 12 years ago | (#4127702)

Let's make a deal. I will tell you how to safely dispose of monitors if you agree to check the site you run to see if a story has already been posted about this exact topic in the past 45 or so days.


Re:How to dispose of a monitor??? (1, Offtopic)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | about 12 years ago | (#4127740)

"if you agree to check the site you run to see if a story has already been posted about this exact topic in the past 45 or so days. "

I hate when people act like every single person on Slashdot has every single story ever posted on it cued up in their mind ready to be remembered.

But is is his Job. (1, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | about 12 years ago | (#4127802)

But it is his (CmdrTaco's) job. He runs the blasted site and he posted the article. You know it appears that slashdot is not the slashdot that I remember.

What happened???

Re:But is is his Job. (2)

Pii (1955) | about 12 years ago | (#4127924)

We old timers have much to complain about...

The best topic in weeks had to be the Haiku thread.

Re:But is is his Job. (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | about 12 years ago | (#4127925)

"But it is his (CmdrTaco's) job. He runs the blasted site and he posted the article. "

Where can I read CmdrTaco's Job Description? Why's it such a big friggin deal? "Oh no! A story was posted twice within the last 90 days! We mighta missed a story about how somebody is using Linux!"

Proper way to dispose of a monitor (5, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | about 12 years ago | (#4127705)

The proper way to dispose of a working monitor is to give it to someone who needs one. The proper way to dispose of a non-working or obsolete monitor or television is to take it to a computer recycling center, who can safely crush the CRT and dispose of the toxic plastic and electronics.

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127787)

>>who can safely crush the CRT and dispose of the toxic plastic and electronics.

Yeah sure. And just where the hell are they going to "dispose" of this crap? We, as a race, expend great energy in gleaning these rare toxic compounds from the earth, then we aren't smart enough to recycle them. Instead we have the conceit to think they can be "disposed" of -- the only place for it to go is back into the earth (eventually)! Getting materials in the front door of recycling centers is only a part of the battle. The real battle is getting manufacturer's to build stuff that is optimized for recycling as well as use.

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor (4, Insightful)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | about 12 years ago | (#4127906)

That has nothing to do with the statement of the problem. The problem statement is "how to dispose of a monitor". This implies that the monitor exists, was manufactured in the past, and is currently owned by some entity. So you have to get rid of it somehow, you can't just wish it hadn't been built that way. And as I said, it is much better to have the parts concentrated at a toxic waste center than to chuck it in the trash. CRT monitors are full of lead and other toxic chemicals, and it is also very difficult and dangerous to crush them. The job is best left to a dedicated facility. A recycling center can also reuse the glass for metal smelting operations.

The problem of waste electronics is already being addressed. CRTs are already less favored than LCDs. LCDs generate less waste because they contain less material, and do not use a giant leaded glass tube. They do not have high-voltage, high-current power supplies, and thus need less fireproofing. Further an LCD can be expected to last practically forever if the backlight can be replaced. That of course reduces waste tremendously.

Finally, there are movements afoot to phase out lead, mercuryt, cadmium, chromium, and other dangerous chemicals from electronics products. Lead-free soldering processes are already available, but not widely deployed. The EU has proposed to phase out these dangerous chemicals in electronics by January 2008. Other nations have similar proposals. Google for WEEE to find the EU proposal.

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor (3, Informative)

Codifex Maximus (639) | about 12 years ago | (#4127812)

Referbishing is also an option. Replace the damaged part and sell it again at a discount compared to new monitors.

Re:Proper way to dispose of a monitor (1)

Ooblek (544753) | about 12 years ago | (#4127896)

Damn, you mean that taking a monitor out to the shooting range and reducing it to dust with a shotgun is not a good way to dispose of it? My neighbors in the trailers next door will be so pissed now that their weekend has been ruined.

Eww (1)

Fascist Christ (586624) | about 12 years ago | (#4127711)

This really bothers me. All those computers tossed aside. Sick.

As for the sweatshops, don't blame the computers. Blame their government.

No (2)

DAldredge (2353) | about 12 years ago | (#4127765)

Don't you know, it is our (The USA's) fault. Everything bad that happens in the world is our fault and everthing good that happens happens because we failed to stop the good from happening.

For those with no sense of humor, this is a joke

Re:No (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127846)

har har har
fuck off you karma whore

It would be a joke I agree... (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | about 12 years ago | (#4127920)

If it wasn't for the fact that this is pretty much the way the USA gets dealt with by the rest of the world. You're kidding but a ridiculously large number of people who would say the exact same thing mean it.

perhaps the proper solution... (1)

simpl3x (238301) | about 12 years ago | (#4127827)

is to first figure out what the correct response is, cost that response, and build it into the price of whatever product one might consider. then, the real price is evident. we are as a society a bit too removed from reality. reality costs! my property taxes are very high because i have chosen to live in a district where the schools are the absolute best. fortunately, the choice was available to me. it seems we have left too much to choice and those who can afford it. 2c.

Monitor Disposal.. (5, Funny)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | about 12 years ago | (#4127714)

"Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a monitor."

Ya'll should do what we do in Kansas. Whenever a TV stops working, we place the new one on top of the old one.

If you have too many of them there telly visions, you can place them in your front yard. Move them around the yard enough, and you'll never have to mow it!

The shipbreakers (2, Interesting)

sirdude (578412) | about 12 years ago | (#4127716)

There's also an interesting article here [] which has been previously mentioned on Slashdot, that might be worth a read. Cheers.

Dispose of it. (2, Redundant)

laserjet (170008) | about 12 years ago | (#4127719)

For those who ask silly questions like, "Does anyone know how to dispose of a monitor?"

All you have to do is make a little effort. If you call your local trash people, they almost always have a way to handle waste computer stuff, waste oil, etc. Unless you live in a small town or something.

It wasn't environmentally sound in anyway, but the last monitor I "disposed of" was several years ago. I took it out into the desert and blew it to pieces with a shotgun and a pistol. I hope the environment forgives me.

Re:Dispose of it. (1)

desau (539417) | about 12 years ago | (#4127767)

And.. what's more, they don't totally destroy it. They will disassemble it and re-use some of the components.

Re:Dispose of it. (2)

laserjet (170008) | about 12 years ago | (#4127800)

It is just annoying when people ask questions like that. Because WE as slashdot readers can not tell a specific person how to dispose of their junk. It is all local. I can only tell someone how to get rid of their junk in my area.

There is a lot of lead in monitors, kids, so don't eat them.

Possible Human Carcenogen (0, Troll)

Husaria (262766) | about 12 years ago | (#4127721)

They say toner ink is a possible carcinogen, article is simply FUD. Absetos was thought to be a carcinogen, but it really isn't, that was just pure FUD. But then again, EVERYTHING these days is cancer causing..

And, wtf, why not simply send those computers to those countries as working comptuers instead of in garbage? As with broken parts or just parts, do the following: launch them in a rocket and put it in space.

Re:Possible Human Carcenogen (0)

Lazar Dobrescu (601397) | about 12 years ago | (#4127750)

The health hazard associated with asbestos is respiratory, since asbestos is a fibre mineral, it gets all stuck in ur lungs, giving asthma or worse to people exposed to it. I agree with you on the fact that everything seems to be said carcinogen this day, but you can probably bet that toner ink has one, if not many, health hazards associated with it.

Re:Possible Human Carcenogen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127785)

FUD (see above)
Got FUD?

I don"t suppose you could mod paernt down for not thinking?

Re:Possible Human Carcenogen (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127811)

Suck up a few grams of Chrysotile asbestos, call me in 20 years, and tell me it is FUD. If you can speak...or even breath.

Re:Possible Human Carcenogen (2)

laserjet (170008) | about 12 years ago | (#4127873)

Toner is pretty much just plastic. Just mashed up into a plastic dust.

I am also in favor of shipping all our garbage into space. I will rely on huge technology advancements in the future to help clean it all up.

Re:Possible Human Carcenogen (1)

cyclist1200 (513080) | about 12 years ago | (#4127882)

They say toner ink is a possible carcinogen, article is simply FUD.

I noticed you don't have evidence to the contrary. Comparing toner ink to asbestos and drawing a conclusion on its toxicity is bad logic.

As with broken parts or just parts, do the following: launch them in a rocket and put it in space.

Here's why we don't launch our garbage into space:
"That will be $300,000 to throw away that computer sir. Would you like a receipt?"

Re:Possible Human Carcenogen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127926)

I'd like to see the data on the toner ink. If there is any. I was a bit surprised at this potential fact as well, given that I refill (by hand) my two laser printers' cartridges instead of buying new. (Thought it would save on waste from disposing the entire cartridge, as well as save me some money as toner in bottles is much cheaper than even a refurbished cartridge.)

Not cancer, but I wouldn't be surprised if toner ink caused some sort of fibrosis of the lungs, similar to what cotton workers, wood workers, etc. deal with. But that's more long term, very regular exposure of high amounts in the air (not something a refill is going to do unless you play with the ink).

Not sure exactly what sort of mask you would need, given that toner ink is really fine. Anybody have any ideas about the masks or particle size, for the paranoid?

Also, I'd dispute the asbestos claim. Asbestos causes mesothelioma. But it has to be in the air in decent amounts for adequate exposure to cause the disease. It's pretty straightforward. Now, some ship engineers were regularly exposed to the stuff, and plenty did not get cancer, but it's pretty clear cut that it significantly contributes to the risk of that particular kind of lung cancer, enough so that it is a good idea to get a licensed and knowledgeable person to remove or work with any asbestos in a renovation or plumbing work.

If the asbestos is just sitting there and not disturbed, it's not going to hurt you one bit. Drill through it and through the particles in the air, and then I'd think twice.

Personally, I think our waste hazardous disposal policy should be to launch the stuff into the sun.

old news (1)

firippu (593681) | about 12 years ago | (#4127731)

This has been covered and photographed long ago... by many other news organizations... what's different now?

Re:old news (3, Insightful)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | about 12 years ago | (#4127780)

"This has been covered and photographed long ago... by many other news organizations... what's different now?"

The problem isn't the difference, it's the lack of difference. The problem's still around.

The proper way to dispose of a monitor (1)

CaptTrips (410803) | about 12 years ago | (#4127736)

Is to give it to your family members along with a slow-end computer. This is especially the case for those family members that use their computers for simple things like checking email and stocks.

Disposing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127742)

Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a monitor?

Aren't we? Seriously, they get the little gold, the cancer, and indirectly the population control needed to contain the spread of yellows.

boosheet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127743)

According to the Basel Action Network, a pile of 500 computers contains 717kg of lead, 1.36kg of cadmium, 863 grams of chromium and 287 grams of mercury

717kg in 500 computers? so each computer has over a kilo of lead in it? I think not.

Re:boosheet. (2, Insightful)

dokutake (587467) | about 12 years ago | (#4127807)

Methinks this stems from the good old "the monitor is the computer misconception.

Re:boosheet. (1)

siskbc (598067) | about 12 years ago | (#4127918)

Yeah, somebody forgot a decimal there somewhere, or possibly put a "k" in front of that "g" mistakenly. But don't wait for a journalist to catch any math errors, they don't require numeric literacy for those liberal arts degrees those journalists get.

H2K2 (1)

Milo Fungus (232863) | about 12 years ago | (#4127747)

This is the very best way to dispose of an old computer.

Monitor disposal... (2, Interesting)

siphoncolder (533004) | about 12 years ago | (#4127753)

I've been looking at that problem for a few months now. I have an old monitor, but I know damn well that you can't just kick it to the curb - the trashmen won't take it since there's the possibility of explosion/implosion, which is quite a safety concern. (After all, CRT's are just a big vaccuum - breaking that seal recklessly (i.e. piercing it) can cause some damage. Not to mention the possibility for electrocution via the capacitors or even a fire.)

Usually, you can take your monitor to an appropriate dealer or electronics shop, where trained & certified technicians can safely deactivate, disassemble & dispose of the monitor for you. This is what I'm looking for right now.

Now that i have a new LCD, I wonder if they're trash-safe - I haven't researched if there's any hazards concerning say, the liquid in the display, or any other chemicals.

Re:Monitor disposal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127844)

lcd's have toxic substances in them also. Sony puts in their manual that it is not supposed to be trown out with the garbage... Something about the backlight.

I am so glad ... (0, Troll)

pgrote (68235) | about 12 years ago | (#4127754)

that someone is finding value in old hardware. It's good that their economic system can support it.

As for the enviornmental concerns, last time I looked China wasn't the 51st state. If their government can't control it then it's their problem not ours.

Amazing how America can be portrayed as the bad guy all around the world. Face facts, if you're stupid enough to inhale fumes from PC parts you're burning you should be dead. Those who don't die make money.

If you don't like where you live ... move. It's like Sam Kinnison used to say, "You live in a freaking desert. Move."

Re:I am so glad ... (3, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 12 years ago | (#4127888)

If there were a natural disaster in China or elsewhere would you simply say: "Oh well, they aren't 'mericans!"

Your view on human life really makes me ashamed of being a fellow countrymen of yours.

Plus you obviously don't realize the situation in China. I don't think you can just get up and leave China if you'd like. You don't wake up and say "I think I'm going to America to start a new life!"

But this issue has been brought up before on slashdot. "last time I looked China wasn't the 51st state" Then why should we have a right to dump our waste there. Not In My Back Yard! But to make it worse... when the kids play in the dump you think they deserve it.

Is it America's fault? I don't really know the _truth_, yet I don't see why I shouldn't care about my fellow man either way.

Re:I am so glad ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127915)

you probably drive a gas guzzling SUV don't you? you fucking retard.

oil is a reserve that is running low, and somehow fucking americans think they're so special they can use all the oil they want. i don't even see america *trying* to find ways to cut down on its oil consumption.

fuck you all, assholes.
at least europe came up with linux. all american came up with is bill gates and MS.

Recycling old computer (and other) gear (3, Informative)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 12 years ago | (#4127755)

Living in the People's Republic of Boulder, we have Eco-Cycle's Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) [] where old PCs can be dropped off for a fee.
If you can't find the answer under "Recycling" in your local yellow pages, drop the folks at Eco Cycle [] of Boulder a line and see if they can hook you up to a network in your area.

Is this our responsibility? (2, Insightful)

devnull17 (592326) | about 12 years ago | (#4127756)

I've seen articles like this before, and it is definitely sobering to see the effects of the things we throw away on others. But is this really our fault? Once I throw a circuit board away--courtesy of a company that specializes in technology disposal or recycling, no less--is it really my responsibility to make sure that no one is stupid enough to light it on fire and inhale the heavy metals in it? If someone tried this in the U.S., they'd be looked upon as an idiot and possibly a social and environmental menace.

Clearly, what's going on in China shouldn't be happening. But give blame where blame is due--to the factory managers, who must be aware of the dangers of what they're hiring people to do. Don't try to pin this one on American consumers--for once, it's not our fault.

Re:"Our" responsibility (2)

ianscot (591483) | about 12 years ago | (#4127898)

Does the story blame anybody for the problem? I don't recall that. Funny how you brought it up.

Bet if you asked the guy who did the photo essay, he would describe "us" in a different way than you just did.

Re:Is this our responsibility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127913)

Maybe the US customers should keep their shit in their own country and see what the real problem is, instead of dumping it in the third world.

How to dispose of a monitor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127766)

  1. Open Windows
  2. Look out for children/animals. (Either for targets, or non-targets.)
  3. Throw monitor out window
  4. Close window

Re:How to dispose of a monitor (1)

Hobophile (602318) | about 12 years ago | (#4127894)

I don't mean to be critical, but I think your third step needs a little work. Honestly, how far can you throw a monitor? Especially one of the newer, 75 pound CRT monsters? It'll just land on the ground a few feet away from your building, and it'll be pretty obvious where it came from.

Thus I have taken the liberty of revising your list:

  1. Open Windows
  2. Look out for children/animals. (Either for targets, or non-targets.)
  3. ?????
  4. Close window

Where's the supply coming from? (2)

ianscot (591483) | about 12 years ago | (#4127771)

So my question is, where do these piles of hardware come from? Specifically, I mean -- At what point in the chain do we hand everything off to a central supplier who sells it out of the country? Who are the companies? My local hazardous waste place is how far removed from 13-year-olds dipping circuit boards in tin and lead to "make them look new"?

NPR did a story a while back about infectious diseases being shipped worldwide at new speeds because of container ships full of old tires. (Mosquitoes bred in water collecting in the tires, and the container ship system meant transport speeds were far greater.) Made you really think -- our waste is a desirable commodity somewhere? Desirable enough that people will pay good rates to ship old tires to the third world? The unintended consequence of viral transmission was pretty nasty.

Re:Where's the supply coming from? (2)

pgrote (68235) | about 12 years ago | (#4127840)

The third world is called the third world for good reason. Their governments suck. Sucks to be their citizens, but that's the way it is.

Just look at the godawful mess in Africa. You'd think the continent where man grew from would be able to get it right after a few thousand years.

Shipped there? (2, Interesting)

TonyZahn (534930) | about 12 years ago | (#4127775)

I know there's supposed to be places in the US to deposit your used electronics for recycling (I know this has been mentioned here before...), are these places just shipping their stuff off to China?

How can you tell the difference between a "reputable" electronics recycler and someone whose contributing to the poisining of people who are all ready in a bad position?

I know I've gone through my share (or more than my share) of electronics in my day, and I'm afraid that a lot of it has just made it's way to the landfill. With computers becoming obsolete at the rate they do, how can I get rid of this stuff without wasting the reusable metals or poisoning complete strangers?

Proper way to dispose of a (non-working) monitor (1)

cbartz (68225) | about 12 years ago | (#4127786)

Rifle Range.

It's a dirty job... (1)

jhunsake (81920) | about 12 years ago | (#4127791)

but somebody's got to do it. Beats working at McDonald's.

How many more? (1)

latchiko (183694) | about 12 years ago | (#4127792)

This must be just one of many such places around the world, anywhere where human life is cheap...

This is sad. (1)

Angus McNitt (542101) | about 12 years ago | (#4127793)

If it wasn't for the suffering of the people working on these old boxes, I would say it looked a lot like my basement as a teenager. But at least I had window fans to help move the air flow when I did any kind of work on the old boards.

Later when I worked for a computer repair place, we had a recycling service. I kinda wonder how many machines I chucked into the bin, ended up over there.

Expected response (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127803)

Slashdot has an amazing following. If an article were to run describing live babies being lowered into boiling oil for money, at least 30% of the talkbacks would be dimwitted rationalizations about how it's somehow ok because after all there's a market for it. The next 30% would be facetious comments serving the function of nervous, cathartic laughter. The remaining percentage is our faint hope for improvement.

Re:Expected response (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127848)

so where does "shut up, bitch." fit in?

Disposal. (1, Funny)

saintlupus (227599) | about 12 years ago | (#4127815)

Anyone know the proper way to dispose of a monitor?

Mail it to China.


Not New (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127832)

This isn't new.

When IBM introduced vacuum tube based computers, they took back their 'wire programmed' card sorting computers and shipped them to the third world.

When they introduced solid state computers, they did the same thing with their vacuum tube computers.

Plus ca change, plus sa reste la meme chose.

A500 (1)

networkmonkey (462763) | about 12 years ago | (#4127834)

So that's where my Amiga went.

best way to get rid of computer equip (2)

room101 (236520) | about 12 years ago | (#4127837)

I know how to do this, I have been doing this for so long, I can't believe you guys are still searching for the right way.

I have it.

I box it up and put it in my guest room closet. Problem solved.

Hold on a second. (1)

iamwoodyjones (562550) | about 12 years ago | (#4127852)

Go ahead and flame me but isn't this about where most non-recyclable stuff is ending up? I mean come on, not everything is recycable when you bring it into a recycling center. Therefore, they handle it the American way: Not in my backyard.

It's toxic waste. If you ask to have it put into your backyard for a smaller price then those countries I'm sure they'll be glad to deposit it there. Seriously, that's what's going on.

It's NOT like they don't know what's going over there! They know it's crap that can't be recycled. And those countries are getting paid for it to be deposited. Totally legal.

So flame me but it's like nuclear waste. It exists and no one wants it. Can't recycle ALL of it either.

We've already seen this story. Twice! (2)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 12 years ago | (#4127855)

Here [] and here [] . I don't really expect CmdrTaco to remember every story that's ever gone up, but that took me about 10 seconds of searching in the Older Stuff section.

LCDs any better? (3, Interesting)

qslack (239825) | about 12 years ago | (#4127857)

Are LCDs any easier to dispose cleanly? I am just curious because everything here is talking about CRTs.

Are we shipping this material there? (0)

jwh123 (579591) | about 12 years ago | (#4127858)

My comfortable, happy-go-lucky life is showing here.
I don't understand this. Is the US shipping large quantities of this waste to third world countries and dumping it, or are these 'recycling' workshops buying the stuff here and bring it back to China or elsewhere to play with?
I live in Pennsylvania, and our previous governor (you may know him as Homeland Security Czar...) took some heat for the amount of trash PA was importing from other states, so I know trash gets sent around, but I find it hard to believe that we are spending shipping costs to deliberately dump this stuff on other countries. Am I just brainwashed by our government and media? Can someone explain how this trash is ending up in China?
If there are companies in China that are buying up this trash and bringing it home to recycle, that sounds more like a workers/human rights issue to me, than some reason we should be writing our congressmen to stop shipping our toxic trash overseas.

TechTV. (5, Informative)

13Echo (209846) | about 12 years ago | (#4127870)

Tech TV ran a great program on this some time ago.

Check it out here. []

A co-worker of mine has a friend in China, and it is something that he really takes seriously. He actually wrote an article in our IT newsletter a few months ago, talking about the waste that we dump into Asia. All sorts of countries are doing this. Companies are paying to dump this junk off to the cheapest landfill. It is sick. It is something that we need to take seriously. Large ships take this stuff to Asia every day.

I also read that there are start-up companies that are trying to take this stuff and dismantle it properly. Recycling this stuff, and appropriately preventing serious toxic hazards.

The first way to start is simple... Don't throw this stuff into the trash. Landfills are becoming full of this stuff. Donate working computer stuff, or try to find a suitable recycling facility. It is important to realize that this can be done with all electronics. [] []

Hello and we think CHINA cares? (4, Insightful)

Razzious (313108) | about 12 years ago | (#4127880)

I mean come on the country that gives about as many civil rights to its people as Bill Gates distributes Linux.

These people would have lived CRAP lives regardless of the horrible evil of computer waste products there. It must not be too severe or the Chinese government would be fast to stop it. We all know they could do so if they wanted to. However it provides these people with some form of income and keeps them out of the hair of the rest of the country.

I have traveled the world and the things being condemned here amount to nothing in comparison to what others suffer through elsewhere. Hell I would gie money to the Christian Childrens Fund before thinking twice about if my toner cartridge was going to be salvaged in China. And while on TONER and its evils...SWEET N LOW is a cancerous agent is BBQ's food.

USA's fault (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127883)

Now you all see what President Bush's policy leads to. By not accepting environmental laws like the Kyoto protocol etc. you get this kind of shit. Here in the Netherlands nowadays here the producers are obliged by law to recycle all electronic devices, so they don't end up in China or India.
Ever seen the reports about the beaches in India littered with old oil tankers that get stripped in the same conditions as in China (a industry for 1 million people).
Maybe Bush could start by forbidding that these things end up getting recycled in this awful way.

recycling options (3, Interesting)

phatphat (603470) | about 12 years ago | (#4127892)

HP offers product end-of-life return programs for HP and other manufacturers' hardware in a number of geographic areas. The terms and availability of these programs vary by geography because of differences in regulatory requirements and local customer demand. Click here [] for info.

And??? (3, Interesting)

Pedrito (94783) | about 12 years ago | (#4127901)

These workers are sorting plastic by heating it with a cigarette lighter and sniffing the fumes. They complained of headaches.

Okay, first of all, is the First World supposed to have a monopoly on common sense?

I agree, this is all tragic, but this is hardly the fault of the First World. We're not forcing China to take our old computer parts. They have a government that clearly doesn't care about the people. Unfortunately the only way this is ever going to change in China is for them to have a revolution.

It would be nice if we could do it for them, but the fact is, we can't. Sometimes people must be responsible for their own goverment. We can't realistically overthrow China without serious repercussions. If the people overthrow the government though, I don't think a whole lot of countries are going to be too upset about it.

So, yeah, I'm sorry this is happening, but eventually, it's going to be one thing too many and the people are going to revolt. There's not a whole lot anyone outside of China can do until then. They have to come to terms with the fact that their government doesn't protect them or even care about them.

No polution here (1)

ScannerBoy (174488) | about 12 years ago | (#4127903)

At least we don't have to worry about poisioning /. Seeing as how this story is recycled!

I feel bad some days. (4, Insightful)

TibbonZero (571809) | about 12 years ago | (#4127904)

This is going to sound really odd, but I sincerly feel bad some days for the fact that I tread so heavily on the earth (not weight morons, enviormentally).

I feel bad about the fact that I generate trash with everything I do. I want to go completely paperless, because I don't like the idea of killing the rainforest for paper. I know that some cutting in forests is actually good for the forest, but few loggers do that.
Even if I didn't use paper, I still get things in the mail, I have packaging, etc...
My computers, my music equipment, my house, my car (esp my car), generate waste.
Even the food I eat, I consider waste. I want to be a vegitarian some days, just because of enviormental impact of hog farms, overfishing, etc... I would like to be in touch with the earth more- kinda of like how you think of indians (opps, native americans), of being.
You may ask, well why don't you. It's because I can't. I am in college. I live in Boston (well in 6 days I do). I can't plant myself a garden. I can't rid myself of paper. I can't use solar/wind/geothermal power in my apartment. I know that there are little things that I can do, and I do those, but it feels small in comparison. Well, at least I won't have my car in Boston, so the T should save some energy somewhere. Does anyone else feel bad about their impact on the enviorment? I am not an activist, just a concerned person. Even if something actually doesn't 'impact' something drastically, I still feel bad for that disruption.

made me cry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127909)

picture number 2.. i didn't go further.
Okay so the picture itself is not
that bad, but it just reminded me how
much suffering there actually is in the
world. Just something in that girl's

Of course, it feels like I cannot do
anything about it.. I mean, I suffer
each and every day, and I am not
particularly poor talking material

Seems like humans are just bound to
suffer, rich or poor - our intelligence
is our biggest friend and our worst
enemy. But it is beyond my simple
words how sad it is that we let people
suffer needlessly, because of our greed.

There's a world missing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4127917)

If we are the first world and they are the third world, who is the second world?

Why do you think MS just sends you another mouse? (2, Insightful)

piku (161975) | about 12 years ago | (#4127919)

Why else would Microsoft just send you a replacement mouse with no hassle, and without you sending them your "broken" one back? It's cheaper for them to take the hit with the mouse (or whatever) than for them to dispose of all the returned mice, since they are considered hazardous.

(everything in this post is from memory, which means it may not be 100% correct)

Here's Info on IBM's Recycling Service (5, Informative)

Obsequious (28966) | about 12 years ago | (#4127928)

Short version is that you pay IBM $30, and you can stuff a box (of a certain size) with as much hardware as will fit, and ship it back to IBM via UPS. IBM will then refurbish the stuff and donate it to charity, or will recycle it.

[] er vice.shtml
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