Garbage and Recycling (Hot Topics) by Debra A. Miller

By Debra A. Miller

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07mL) can pollute an entire lake. In addition, brominated flame retardants are widely used in plastic cases and cables for fire retardancy, and the heavy metal cadmium was widely used for years in rechargeable batteries for laptops and other portable electronics. Most newer rechargeable batteries do not contain cadmium. Much of this e-waste is produced by rich nations but exported to developing countries for disposal, where the absence of government regulations often exposes poor workers to health hazards and pollutes the local environment.

Government funds, known as “Superfund,” pay for the cleanup of hazardous sites that are eligible. DEALING WITH HAZARDOUS WASTE plumes that are emitted from some hazardous waste dumps. Sometimes, these plumes can be confined by drilling wells around the area and injecting them with water to block the escape of hazardous gases. In the case of chlorinated solvent gases, the area can be surrounded with a trench that contains powdered iron, which can react with the hazardous gases and turn them into less hazardous hydrocarbons.

Some experts also support expanding this idea to require producers of other types of products to take back, or recycle, their products at the end of their useful lives. In certain countries in Europe and in the Canadian province of British Columbia, for example, governments have begun adopting a waste policy known as Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, to require any company that sells a consumer product to provide cradle-to-grave take-back service to its customers. Helen Spiegelman describes the policy as it has been implemented in British Columbia: In British Columbia these laws are being introduced one product category at a time.

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