Non-Toxic Stewardship: E-Waste's Consequences

Just a reminder...  Be careful what you wish for (or mandate).

Indonesia Komodo:   source of ROHS
When you replace toxics, such as lead solder, with non-toxic alternatives, such as tin-silver solder you might reduce the toxics going into lined landfills.  Hurray.

But you replace those (recycled content) toxics by mining tin from Indonesian and Malaysian coral islands, and by mining silver.  Silver mining is the number 2 source of mercury effluent into the environment (after #1, gold mining).

The point is that environmentalists have a moral and environmental responsibility to do their homework before implementing laws which do more harm than good.

My ecological friends have an inconvenient truth assumption, which is that if it's more expensive, it must be better.  Recycling is generally less expensive than mining, because it uses less oil (read:  less carbon) and produces less waste.

But if you tie that recycling up in red tape while managing metal mining under the easy rules of the General Mining Act of 1872, and then mandate use of a low-recycled-content feedstock (tin and silver), you just might be no better than the industrialists.

"Gee, you spoil all our conscientious fun."

The study of environmental health, like the study of human health, requires study, scientific method, rigorous math and science.  Less toxic e-waste is more a win than "better bowel movements", if the remedy is worse than the ailment.  King Charles II took spoonfuls of mercury as a digestive aid... it was quite expensive, a remedy fit for a king.    Rich nations should not be consuming and poisoning the coral islands to make our "e-waste" less "toxic".  

Environmental buzzkill?   Or a lesson that young environmentalists should learn - my generation of environmental activists did not earn high grades in math and science.   Help us clean house.

Meanwhile, the internet egg beater is beautifully mixing our cultures into a cornucopia spin cycle of music. Shared by a friend on Facebook....  "The San Francisco ensemble Rupa and the April Fishes plays a multitude of genres and is fronted by a physician who sings in French, Spanish, English, Hindi, and Romany...."

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