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E-Waste Initiative. Duke EWB 2008 Parv Aggarwal, ECE/Econ/Phys ‘11. Some background on the problem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXzsqTFwV3Q. E-waste (or electronic waste):. A growing concern across the globe’s developing countries in Asia, Africa, and South America.

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e waste initiative

E-Waste Initiative

Duke EWB 2008

Parv Aggarwal, ECE/Econ/Phys ‘11

some background on the problem http www youtube com watch v exzsqtfwv3q
Some background on the problem:


e waste or electronic waste
E-waste (or electronic waste):
  • A growing concern across the globe’s developing countries in Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • Worn out electronic hardware from western countries is been shipped to developing countries to decompose, due to comparatively poorer environmental and occupational regulations.
  • The e-waste undergoes uncontrolled smelting and burning in an effort to salvage out gold, silver, copper, plastic and steel,
  • This results in the release of toxic chemicals (ex. PCBs, lead, mercury, organometallic compounds), harming workers’ respiratory systems and entering into soil, groundwater, and air.
  • According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, in 2005 alone, discarded electronics totaled about 2 million tons. 75-80% percent of this was decomposed in unregulated recycling facilities across the globe.
  • Improve the efficiency in the direct (non-chemical) refurbishing of old electronic components into newer components.
  • Engineer potential ways of developing electronic parts from non-toxic materials.
  • Develop safer ways of material separation than uncontrolled smelting and burning, and safer ways of disposing metals and organometallic compounds
  • Design ways to lower the cost of above methods, such that the safer methods are more profitable.
plan cont
Plan Cont.
  • Visit the RTP branch of Creative Recycling http://www.crserecycling.comto gain more insight about the electronic recycling/component separation/smelting process.
  • Test the above applications with worn out hardware found in Hudson, and send recommendations to the affected countries through NGOs like Basel Action Network; or coordinating directly with a specific e-waste site abroad.
  • Partner with the Duke organization “Wired 2 Achieve,” that refurbishes computers and distributes them to Durham residents, and/or Duke environmental clubs to achieve the above objectives.
  • Goal: prepare a research paper

by May 2009.


Plan Cont.

  • Above were only suggestions; students will decide what to do.
  • Meeting: ~once a month until we have more technical resources; more frequently after winter break
    • Can do this with another project!
  • We hope to involve one or more professors or post-docs from Pratt or the Nicholas School of the Environment, or a technical expert from Creative Recycling.
  • Questions?
  • Interested? Sign up with your email,
  • even if you can not completely certain.
  • Feel free to contact me at pa25@duke.edu
picture sources
Picture Sources:
  • http://www.crserecycling.com/main.php?p=electronics
  • http://www.futureofthebook.org/blog/archives/e-waste-orange-stuff.jpg
  • http://sitemaker.umich.edu/section002group3/e-waste
  • http://www.crunchgear.com
  • http://www.socialroi.com