Electronic waste is extremely difficult to regulate in part because there are so many links in the supply chain. It doesn't seem that there are many companies that deal with e-waste from beginning to end; the buck keeps getting passed from company to company and country to country. The sheer volume of e-waste is mind-boggling; with so much waste to keep track of, it is no wonder that much of it is slipping through the cracks. Most people want to believe in the integrity of those they deal with; therefore, when I research e-waste disposal firms on-line and find one that looks like it does the job well, I don't generally feel a need to dig deeper; I believe the company practices truth in advertising. Most Americans (as well as citizens of other countries) want to do the right thing and dispose of/recycle their used electronics in a way that is least harmful to the environment, but when there is a series of brokers (as described in the Salon.com article) it becomes prohibitively time-consuming and difficult to ascertain where all that material really goes.
So far, I have never gotten rid of any electronic equipment; I am aware that e-waste recyclers exist, and think it would be a good idea to deal with it in that way, but for now all my old electronics are collecting dust in various closets around my house. I considered donating an old cellphone to an organization that would convert it into a 911 emergency-use cellphone, but have not yet done so because I wasn't entirely sure where to go or what to do...so it has so far been easier to just do nothing, knowing that it is reasonably safe sitting in my hall closet! Especially after reading the Salon.com article, it just seems like such an enormously complicated task to be sufficiently conscientious about where my e-waste will end up; how can I ever truly trust that an old computer will be properly dismantled and discarded of, rather than simply left to leach chemicals into the soil in Nigeria? I don't believe I can...therefore, my electronics will probably continue to collect dust in my home, hopefully without leaching chemicals into my carpets.
In the future, when I find it necessary to discard old electronic devices, I can reference the links and organizations we learned about in class, such as www.crc.org and www.noewaste.com, and use the information they provide to help me make an informed decision about what to do with my old electronic devices.