Published on June 14th, 2013 | by Trick0
From E-Cigarettes to E-Waste
Electronic waste is a real problem. There are already problems with batteries — nobody seems to know how to deal with them. Very few sanitation departs will accept them (though they, of course, end up thrown in the trash anyway), and the ones that do typically just ship them offshore to places where the components are worth the effort of stripping them down.
PC Magazine seems to think R.J. Reynolds’ recently announced recycling program for electronic cigarette waste may present some answers, not only on how to deal with e-cigarette cartridges and batteries, but other troublesome electronics like laptops and cell phones as well.
From where we’re standing, we can’t say we’re as optimistic as PC Magazine, and can’t help suspecting that Reynolds is just planning on shipping all that waste off to the same places we’re shipping it now. While they may be widespread enough to be able to place battery drop-offs at convenience stores everywhere, that still leaves the problem of what do with all that hazardous waste once it’s in the barrel — and if you were running a convenience store, would you want a munitions-sized pile of potentially explosive discharged batteries anywhere near your shop? We’re not so sure we would.
Looking past the logistical issues, we’re talking about Big Tobacco: these are people with a very long history of being completely unconcerned with the health of people in their own backyards. We find it unlikely they’ll bat an eye at dumping a few tons of toxic waste on a third-world country. PC Magazine believes R.J. Reynolds is capable of solving a major environmental issue, but seems to forget these are the same guys that can’t be bothered to produce a biodegradable cigarette filter.
PC Magazine calls it “a pretty amazing business model.” Until convinced otherwise, we can’t help thinking that PC Magazine’s a little too quick to drink the Kool-Aid.