Computers and the environment: understanding and managing their impacts

Computers and the environment: understanding and managing their impacts, ed. Kuehr, Ruediger and Williams, Eric (Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London: Kluwer/Springer, 2003).

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  • Editor Kuehr, Ruediger
    Williams, Eric
    Title Computers and the environment: understanding and managing their impacts
    Publication Date 2003
    Place of Publication Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg New York London
    Publisher Kluwer/Springer
    Pages 300
    Language eng
    Abstract Manufacturing computers is materials intensive; the total fossil fuels used to make one desktop computer weigh over 240 kilograms, some 10 times the weight of the computer itself. This is very high compared to many other goods: For an automobile or refrigerator, for example, the weight of fossil fuels used for production is roughly equal to their weights. Also, substantial quantities of chemicals (22 kg), and water (1,500 kg) are also used. The environmental impacts associated with using fossil fuels (e.g. climate change), chemicals (e.g. possible health effects on microchip production workers) and water (e.g. scarcity in some areas) are significant and deserve attention. The environmental benefits and economic costs of recycling computers under the European Union legislation WEEE depend very much on how the system is implemented. Recycling managed by a monopolist concern, whose main interest is meeting simple recycling targets for a fixed fee, could result in an expensive system with relatively small environmental benefit. A multilateral concern aimed at maximizing profit and reuse across the life cycle presents a more promising picture. Decisions by consumers on how PCs are used and disposed of have an enormous effect on environmental impacts. Extending the usable life is very effective for reducing all types of burdens, but relatively few older PCs are being resold, refurbished or recycled – most are stored in warehouses, basements, or closets and eventually end up in landfills. Awareness building and incentives are needed so that consumers will consider environmental issues when buying, using and finally disposing of a computer.
    Keyword Computers
    WEEE Directive
    Basel Convention
    illegal shipments
    Copyright Holder Kluwer/Springer
    Copyright Year 2003
    Copyright type All rights reserved
    ISBN 1402016808
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    Created: Fri, 17 Jun 2016, 05:51:58 JST by Ruediger Kuehr on behalf of UNU ViE