Worlding Electronic WasteMain MenuChapter 1 | IntroductionChapter 1 summary and figures.Chapter 2 | Waste/Non-WasteChapter 2 summary and figures.Chapter 3 | The Discard TestChapter 3 summary and figures.Chapter 4 | Charting Flows of Electronic WasteChapter 4 summary and figures.Chapter 5 | Looking Again in a Different WayChapter 5 summary and figures.Chapter 6 | Weighty GeographiesChapter 6 summary and figures.Josh Lepawsky31444794f29f45991a28c6c997946216e765688eVisit MIT Press
12017-05-12T03:55:13-07:00Josh Lepawsky31444794f29f45991a28c6c997946216e765688e89944Total annual exports of e-waste from US compared to waste acid production at a single smelter. Circles above the icons are proportionate to the tons they represent.plain2017-11-08T11:52:05-08:00Josh Lepawsky31444794f29f45991a28c6c997946216e765688e
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12017-05-12T04:08:54-07:00Josh Lepawsky31444794f29f45991a28c6c997946216e765688eChapter 5 | Looking Again in a Different WayJosh Lepawsky16Chapter 5 summary and figures.plain4418602018-01-19T05:04:03-08:00Josh Lepawsky31444794f29f45991a28c6c997946216e765688e
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12017-05-12T04:08:54-07:00Chapter 5 | Looking Again in a Different Way16Chapter 5 summary and figures.plain4418602018-01-19T05:04:03-08:00How do we know e-waste? This chapter grapples with the inherent indeterminacy at the core of this question. This issue of indeterminacy partly derives from the absence of any non-arbitrary criteria by which to decide what to measure and where to measure it. Typically, e-waste is measured in terms of weight. However, though weight can offer some determinate measure of mass it may tell us little or nothing about toxicity. For example, 1 kilogram of aluminum and 1 kilogram of mercury are identical in terms of weight but completely different in terms of toxicity. E-waste is also largely measured as a post-consumer waste management problem, that is, a question of how many tons of electronics are being put in the waste stream by individuals or households. Yet, quantities of post-consumer discarded electronics are dwarfed by the discards that occur upstream in resource extraction for, and manufacturing of, electronics. If waste from those upstream parts of the existence of electronics were counted when the term e-waste is being used, the problem would look very different than one framed as a problem of what happens after consumers throw away their devices.
What this chapter deals with then is a problem of knowledge-that is, epistemology-with practical consequences. E-waste as a post-consumer problem suggests household recycling as the right solution. However, if most of the waste arising from electronics does so before consumers even purchase their devices, post-consumption recycling will do little or nothing to ameliorate that waste.