Soenke Zehle on Wed, 27 Nov 2002 16:00:50 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Waste in the wireless world

while I'm at it: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition ( is well
known even among netizens, so here's another one: Toxics Link in India
( The globalization of waste is leading to grassroots
networks Delillo and Pynchon never dreamed of...Soenke

Fact File on Waste in the wireless world (via Toxics Link)

  a.. After the first commercial cell phone services introduced in the US in
1983, the use of cell phones has sky rocketed from 340,000 in 1985, to 130
million by 2001.
  b.. A study done at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands
indicates that the PWB and LCD together account for 98 percent of the
handset 's environmental impacts in production and recycling.
  c.. The printed wiring boards contained in all electronic products (not
just cell phones) are the second largest source of lead in the US municipal
waste stream
  d.. According to Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, all PWBs fail the
toxicity characteristics leaching procedure (TCLP) test, which the US EPA
uses to determine whether a material should be classified as a hazardous
  e.. Studies at Delft University of Technology have found that, of all the
materials contained in a printed wiring board, the lead and brominated flame
retardants have the greatest environmental impact
  f.. The breakdown of the handset's environmental impacts by component can
be given as - 59 percent from the printed wiring board and 39 percent from
the liquid-crystal display, of which 64 percent of PWB's environmental
impact comes from the integrated circuits, accounting for 23 percent of the
impact of the handset.
  g.. According to INFORM 's estimates, the US stockpile of retired cell
phones could exceed 500 million by the end of 2005 assuming that over 700
million phones will be retired in the US by 2005,*of which about 75 percent
will be placed in storage.
  h.. An estimated 100,000 to 125,000 tons of lead solder are produced
globally for the electronics industry each year.
  i.. According to a US EPA study in 1988, 40 percent of the lead in US
landfills was found to be from discarded electrical and electronic products.
  j.. In the US, the lead solder contained in the printed wiring boards of
the 130 million cell phones estimated to be retired in 2005 will generate
approximately 81,250 pounds,of lead waste.

Source: The challenge of cell phones, by Bette K. Fishbein, 2002, Published

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