Introduction

The Ore Streams website presents a study led by Studio Formafantasma on the current state of e-waste management. The website collects the research outcomes and compiles an archive of documents, videos, books and articles on the topic.

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Ore streams

Ore Streams is an investigation into the recycling of electronic waste, developed over the course of three years (2017-2019) and commissioned by NGV Australia and Triennale Milano. The project makes use of a diversity of media (objects, video and animation) to address the topic from multiple perspectives. The goal is to offer a platform for reflection and analysis on the meaning of production and how design could be an important agent in developing a more responsible use of resources.

The earth’s surface has been mined for millennia in a quest for resources to fulfil the demands of production. In fact, forging metal changed the course of history: bronze empowered humans to weaponize, while gold facilitated local and then global trade. Even at this very moment, new cavities are being hollowed out, while existing excavated sites are abandoned or re-filled with new earth—a superficial recompense. Human greed for metals has grown to such an extent that by 2080, the biggest metal reserves will no longer be underground. Instead, they will be above the surface as ingots stored in private buildings or otherwise circulated within products such as building materials, appliances, furniture, and an ever-growing market of consumer electronic products.

On the surface of the planet, rivers of ore in the form of these discarded materials stream freely as if in a continuous, borderless continent. Efforts to recycle this complex hardware remain new, uncharted and contentious. New logistic structures, technologies and cross-country transnational alliances are being forged to allow for the renewal of metals at the lowest expense. As this shift progresses, the mining industry will be altered fundamentally. We are entering a new phase, where above-ground scavenging will out-perform and out-value digging below the surface for raw materials.

Currently, electronics are the fastest growing waste stream. Electronic waste is considered especially valuable due to the use of precious metals such as gold and silver in the production of chip boards. While there are efforts to improve the recovery of metals, only 30% of the West’s e-waste makes its way to the appropriate recycling facilities. The remaining 70% are often shipped illegally to developing countries where they are disassembled in poor working conditions and where, with no better options, toxic components of electronics are disposed of inappropriately. This is harmful to both the environment and labourer.

Legislation is now in place in several countries to ban such exportation of e-waste and to establish directives to ensure correct processing. However, and unfortunately, law makers underestimate the design possibilities that could improve recycling both in developed and developing countries.

Ore streams —

The film tells the story of Ore Streams, tracing the movement of minerals through time and space—from planet formation and asteroids to the core and mantle of the earth, excavated from underground mines for millennia and now mined again from the surface of the Earth. As a visual essay, the film draws connections between the physical materiality and processing of natural resources and the abstract yet pervasive conditions of exploitation, colonialism, and consumerism.

Planned obsolescence, perpetual innovation and insatiable desire are critiqued as the most recent drivers—and accelerators—of the constant flow of precious metals through our objects, systems, and material landscapes.

Planned Obsolescence —

A collection of historical and contemporary case studies of planned obsolescence.

Disassembling — 

Developed as tools to mediate the conversation with e-waste recyclers, a series of electronic objects are disassembled.

 

 

System of Recycling 

 

Digital devices are used to display short clips illustrating the basic steps of e-waste recycling.

Taxonomy —

All the components are clearly displayed for a more in-depth observation.

 

Design strategies —

The animation visualizes possible design strategies to facilitate repair and recycling. The concepts displayed are based on a series of extensive interviews with recyclers, NGOs establishing responsible recycling workshops in developing countries, law makers, manufacturers and scholars.

The concepts take account of the recycling technologies now in place and the limitations of facilities across developed and developing countries.

Cubicle —

Materials and techniques : iridescent car paint on CNC milled and folded aluminum and stainless steel

Ore Streams sets out to identify ways in which design can be deployed to correct the flaws in the current waste-stream system. But beyond systemic improvements, design can be used to induce a subconscious attitudinal shift for the better. The objects created for Ore Streams act as a Trojan horse to initiate an exploration of ‘above ground mining’ and of the complex role that design plays in transforming natural resources into desirable products.

The range of office furniture is constructed using recycled iron and aluminium paired together with dead-stock and recycled electronic components. A recurrent element is the use of gold sourced from the recycling of circuit boards to plate details of the objects.

At first glance the objects appear austere and slickly coated. Yet within moments, familiar elements begin to emerge. There are two piles of mobile phones under the surface of the table and an aerating grid from a microwave casing under that. The body of the same microwave is integrated on a shelf hanging from one of the cubicles, while a computer keyboard has been inserted into its side. A standing cabinet pairs transparent glass with six empty computer towers serving as drawers.

Stripped of their original functions, the shells of the computers, phones and microwave are incorporated into the office objects, purely as what they are now. Just materials. The contrast between the recycled metals not bearing any trace of their origin and scavenging process and the empty shells of e-waste is stark. The design of the furniture implicitly suggests the elimination of the idea of waste: materials should never be considered as such, but simply as undergoing constant transformation.

The office is where modern design principles are most visible; the search for efficiency, ideal standards and a universal style are epitomized by furniture such as the filing cabinet and the modular cubicle. The designers’ choice to reference this environment is a nod not only to these principles, but to the same pragmatic approach of quantification, organization and efficiency which runs the bureaucracies responsible for regulating and capitalizing on the circulation of natural resources, minerals and waste used in the global production of goods.

The work integrates apparently distant elements, thereby drawing attention to their relationship. The objects are juxtaposed with NASA-released images of planet Mars’s cratered surface, referring to the alien origins of many of earth’s metals. Gold for instance arrived on planet Earth in a rainstorm of meteorites billions of years ago. So while the gold used in the furniture is recuperated from electronic waste, the images show how the material does not belong only to this planet but to the cosmos at large. It is only a random crash that brought it here. While Ore Streams is a highly specialized project, delving into the details of sourcing raw materials from electronic waste, the imagery from another planet’s craters and soft surfaces stimulate moments of broader reflection on these issues, at least for a moment, from a further vantage point than our own.

Chair —

Metalized car paint on CNC milled aluminium, gold plated aluminum, various components of a mobile phone

Chair —

Detail

Table —

Metalized car paint on CNC milled and folded aluminum, aluminium mobile phones outer casings, gold plated mobile phones outer casings, steel microwaves grid

Cubicle —

Detail

Cabinet —

Clear glass, digital print on aluminum computer cases

Cubicle 2 —

Iridescent car paint on CNC milled and folded aluminum and stainless steel, aluminum outer casing of a portable computer

Cubicle 2 —

Detail

Table —

Detail

The following series of interviews were conducted between 2018 and 2019 and feature a variety of practitioners involved with the management of electronic products and e-waste.

Norbert Zonneveld – EERA, Arnhem, NL

Janet Si-Yin Neo – Fuji Xerox, Bangkok, TH 

Jaco Huisman – United Nation University, Eindhoven, NL

Sam Van Dyck – Worldloop, Brussels, BE

Ugo Vallauri – The Restart Project, London, UK

Jan Visser – Sims Recycling Solutions, Eindhoven, NL

Samuele Sauvage – HOP, Paris, FR

Ross Anderson – Professor of security engineering, Cambridge University, UK

Matthias Huisken – iFixit, Stuttgart, DE

Mathieu Rama – Rreuse, Brussels, BE 

Ioana Botezatu – Interpol, Lyon, FR

Alfred Jager – HKS metals, Amsterdam, NL

Veena Sahajvalla – UNSW, Sydney, AS

Arjen Wittekoek – Coolrec, Liège, BE

Adam Greenfield, London, UK

Aaron Blum – ERI, California, US

Design

Concept, Design

(

Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin

)

Design development

(

Jeroen Van Der Gruiter

)

Research and development

(

Johanna Seelemann, Nicolas Verschaeve

)

Filming

(

Johanna Seelemann, Nicolas Verschaeve

)

Voice-over

(

Claire Bocking, Miriam Yang

)

Voice-over texts edited by

(

Tamar Shafrir

)

Animation, video editing and renderings

(

Martin Gaillard

)

General assistant 

(

Simon Ballen Botero

)

Website

Website design

(

Koehorst in ’t Veld with Benjamin Sporken

)

Website development

(

New Design Vision, Davide Giorgetta

)

Photo Credit

IKON

(

IT

)

Supported by

NGV Melbourne

(

AUS

)

Triennale di Milano

(

IT

)

StimuleringFonds

(

NL

)

EDITIONS

Furniture edited by

(

Giustini / Stagetti, Rome

)

Archive

In the Age of Environment, the scale waste management is geographic all while often relegating such undesired matter to invisibility as matter out of place. Geographies of Trash reclaims the role of forms, technologies, economies and logistics of the waste system in the production of new aesthetics and politics of urbanism. 

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The book remained the authoritative text on mining for 180 years after its publication. It was also an important chemistry text for the period and is significant in the history of chemistry. Mining was typically left to professionals, craftsmen and experts who were not eager to share their knowledge. Much experiential knowledge had been accumulated over the course of time. This knowledge was consecutively handed down orally within a small group of technicians and mining overseers.

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Between 1932 and 1935, London wrote three essays in which he argued in favor of policies that facilitated planned obsolescence. Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence (1932), The New Prosperity Through Planned Obsolescence: Permanent Employment, Wise Taxation and Equitable Distribution of Wealth (1934), and Rebuilding Prosperous Nations Through Planned Obsolescence (1935).

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The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries.

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The Ecodesign Framework Directive was adopted in 2009, revising a directive from 2005. According to its Article 2 on definitions, ‘ecodesign’ means the integration of environmental aspects into product design with the aim of improving the environmental performance of the product throughout its whole life cycle.

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The Willamette Meteorite weighs 15.5 tons. This iron meteorite, which was found in Oregon, is the largest ever found in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. The smooth surface melted during its blazing entry into the atmosphere, while the pits formed on the Earth’s surface.

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Before WWII, American businesses began embracing “creative waste”—the idea that throwing things away and buying new ones could fuel a strong economy.

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If the long rinse cycle on your dishwasher fills you with angst about the Earth’s dwindling resources, rest assured, you’ll soon be able to pour in the Cascade with a little less guilt. Thanks to the Department of Energy’s new energy standards, by May of 2013, every new dishwasher will use no more than 307 kilowatt hours of energy a year and less than five gallons of water each cycle.

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Planned product obsolescence has developed in many subtle and sophisticated ways. Yet its social and environmental impact remains largely unacknowledged; planned obsolescence continues to be elaborated and to undermine consumer choice, increase costs of owning and using products, accelerating the destruction of useful objects and resulting in higher levels of ecological spoiling. It is a phenomenon widely acknowledged though little discussed.

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Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) such as computers, TV-sets, fridges and cell phones is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, with some 9 million tonnes generated in 2005, and expected to grow to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020.

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Data are for year 2012. A full explanation of the data and methods is available for free in: Lepawsky, Josh. 2014. The Changing Geography of Global Trade in Electronic Discards: time to rethink the e-waste problem.

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The Restart Project is a people-powered social enterprise that aims to  x our relationship with electronics. “The Restart Project was born in 2013 out of our frustration with the throwaway, consumerist model of electronics that we’ve been sold, and the growing moun- tain of e-waste that it’s leaving behind. By bringing people together to share skills and gain the con dence to open up their stuff, we give people a hands-on way of making a difference, as well as a way to talk about the wider issue of what kind of products we want.”

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Everywhere in the world, ingenious inventors innovate with what they have at hand and develop solutions to answer to vital, economic or environmental problems. These solutions are low-technologies: systems that are simple, sustainable and accessible in terms of costs and know-how. The Low-tech can be useful to millions of people. It deserves to be shared.

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China has banned 24 kinds of waste from abroad in effort to tackle growing environmental disaster. It’s part of a nascent government plan designed to clean up the world’s biggest accumulation of waste, one that’s been building across the country for decades.

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Directive 2012/19/EU of the European Parliament recasts and repeals the original WEEE directive (Directive 2002/96/EC) which had been substantially amended since its adoption.

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ERI, the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste and the world’s largest cybersecurity-focused hardware destruction company, has announced that it has become the recycling industry’s rst adopter of Basel Action Network’s (BAN’s) innovative new EarthEye tracking system.

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Made to Break is a history of twentieth-century technology as seen through the prism of obsolescence. America invented everything that is now disposable, Giles Slade tells us, and he explains how disposability was in fact a necessary condition for America’s rejection of tradition and our acceptance of change and impermanence.

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A pioneering work from the 1960s about how the rapid growth of disposable consumer goods degraded the environmental, financial and spiritual character of western society. It exposed the increasing commercialisation of American life, when people bought things they didn’t need or want.

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Mining is the extraction of valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth, usually from an orebody, lode, vein, seam, reef or placer deposit. These deposits form a mineralized package that is of economic interest to the miner.

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Born in July 2015, HOP is an association law 1901 committed in the fight against the ready-to-throw. The overproduction and overconsumption of products designed to be unsustainable have long-term unsustainable ecological consequences and that planned obsolescence removes the freedom of citizens to consume in a sustainable and responsible manner.

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E-waste, or waste electrical and electronic equipment, is an emerging and fast-growing waste challenge to waste management in both developed and developing countries. Rapid technology innovation and ever shortening product lifespans are among the factors contributing to the growing amount of e-waste.

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Six years ago, for the first time, the number of “things” connected to the internet surpassed the number of people … Experts estimate that, as of this year, there will be 25 billion connected devices, and by 2020, 50 billion.

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Dave and Ugo interview Professor Ross Anderson, an expert on Security Engineering at Cambridge University, on the topic of software obsolescence. They discuss how devices connected to the Internet need to be constantly updated to remain secure.

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On 23 December 1924, a group of leading international businessmen gathered in Geneva for a meeting that would alter the world for decades to come. Present were top representatives from all the major lightbulb manufacturers, including Germany’s Osram, the Netherlands’ Philips, France’s Compagnie des Lampes, and the United States’ General Electric.

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The Light Bulb Conspiracy uncovers how planned obsolescence has shaped our lives and economy since the 1920’s, when manufacturers deliberately started shortening the life of consumer products to increase demand. The film also profiles a new generation of consumers, designers and business people who have started challenging planned obsolescence as an unsustainable economic driver.

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iFixit is a wiki-based site that teaches people how to fix almost anything. Anyone can create a repair manual for a device, and anyone can also edit the existing set of manuals to improve them. Our site empowers individuals to share their technical knowledge with the rest of the world.

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A case study on illegal e-waste export from the EU to China.

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Sydney-Apple Inc. was fined in Australia for refusing to offer free fixes for iPhones and iPads that were previously serviced by non-Apple stores, the latest episode in a global dispute between companies and consumers about the right to repair.

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We examine the unique manufacturing ecosystem that has emerged, gaining access to the world’s leading hardware-prototyping culture whilst challenging misconceptions from the west. The film looks at how the evolution of “Shanzhai” – or copycat manufacturing – has transformed traditional models of business, distribution and innovation, and asks what the rest of the world can learn from this so-called “Silicon Valley of hardware”.

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Over 40 million tonnes of electric and electronic waste (also known as e-waste) are produced worldwide every year. That is boundless heaps of refrigerators, computers, television sets, ovens, telephones, air conditioning units, lamps, toasters and other electric and electronic devices, with a total weight equal to seven times that of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

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“True innovation means considering what happens to a product at every stage of its life cycle. Liam disassembles your iPhone when it’s no longer functioning, so the materials inside can live on.”

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“When my wife’s printer recently went on the fritz, she ordered a new one from Amazon, which arrived two days later. I took the broken printer to Best Buy, which offers free and easy recycling of electronics.”

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The globe of economic complexity dynamically maps out the entire world production of goods to create an economic landscape of countries around the globe.

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Economic geology is concerned with earth materials that can be used for economic and/or industrial purposes. These materials include precious and base metals, nonmetallic minerals, construction-grade stone, petroleum minerals, coal, and water. Economic geology is a subdiscipline of the geosciences […]. Today, it may be called the scientific study of the Earth’s sources of mineral raw materials and the practical application of the acquired knowledge.

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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Since its creation the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, establishing the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government and academia.

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The London Metal Exchange is the world centre for industrial metals trading. The prices discovered on our three trading platforms are used as the global reference price and both the metal and investment communities use the LME to transfer or take on risk, 24 hours a day.

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This film explains the main 3 services of the London Metal Exchange: hedging, pricing and the physical delivery of material. It is an excerpt from the LME’s educational corporate DVD.

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The minting process and features of the €2 coin.

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The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive 2002/95/EC, (RoHS 1), short for Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, was adopted in February 2003 by the European Union.

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Reassembling Rubbish is a research project lead by Dr. Josh Lepawsky in the Department of Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland. At its core is a five year examination of the issue of electronic discards (‘e-waste’). That issue entangles the project with a plethora of topics and themes associated with waste- or discard-studies beyond electronics.

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Cell phones offer the rare opportunity to compare closed-loop supply chains for e-waste reuse and recycling.

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This paper provides a synopsis of the changing geography of global trade in electronic waste over time using data available from the United Nations COMTRADE database. It quantifies the magnitude and direction of this trade between 206 territories in over 9400 reported trade transactions between 1996 and 2012.

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Terra Blight is a 55-minute documentary about America’s consumption of computers and the hazardous waste we create in pursuit of the latest technology.

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This article analyses free and unfree labour in mining centres in the Andes during early Spanish colonial times. It focuses on two themes: the condition of indigenous or ‘‘native’’ people as ‘‘free labourers’’, and the mita system of unfree labour. 

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The discovery of silver in Cerro Rico, Bolivia, prompted the foundation of the mining town Potosí on 10 April 1545. Francisco de Toledo, the Spanish Viceroy of Peru from 1569 to 1581, created the so-called mita system.  The system was originally devised by the Incas, but the Spanish colonists adapted and expanded it to serve the needs of the mining economy.

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When an errant spark ignited the methane leaking in the Upper Big Branch mine in 2010, a fireball ripped through miles of underground tunnels in Appalachia’s coal country, killing everything it touched – including 29 men. In the explosion’s aftermath, a right-wing pro-coal activist joins forces with a tree-hugging grandmother to take down the most dangerous coal company in the United States.

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“Consider a picture such as Nickel Tailings #34 from Burtynsky’s “Mines and Tailings,” a series devoted to the environmental aftermath of metal mining and smelting. 

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Mining companies are staking claims on the deep sea floor. Ballpark estimates suggest that hundreds of millions of tons of precious metals lace the ocean bottom, including gold, silver, copper, zinc, cobalt and a host of others.

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If the holy grail of medieval alchemists was turning lead into gold, how much more magical would it be to draw gold from, well, poop? It turns out that a ton of sludge, the goo left behind when treating sewage, could contain several hundred dollars’ worth of metals.

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The world needs clean water, and more and more, we’re pulling it from the oceans, desalinating it, and drinking it. But what to do with the salty brine left behind? In this intriguing short talk, TED Fellow Damian Palin proposes an idea: Mine it for other minerals we need, with the help of some collaborative metal-munching bacteria.

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Mirror: a surface, typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, which reflects a clear image.

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The German chemist Martin Klaproth (1743-1817) discovered in 1789 a new element in pitchblende ores from Johanngeorgenstadt in the Saxonian Erzgebirge (Metalliferous Mts.) and Joachimsthal in Bohemia. Pitchblende was thought to be a Zinc, Iron or Tungsten ore. First he wanted to name the element Klaprothium, after himself. But he resisted the temptation and proposed, “until a better name was found,” to call his element Uranium after the last planet to have been discovered, for which the German astronomer Bode had suggested the name “Uranus”.

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Alchemical symbols, originally devised as part of alchemy, were used to denote some elements and some compounds until the 18th century. Although notation like this was mostly standardized, style and symbol varied between alchemists, so this page lists the most common.

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WorldLoop’s mission is to eliminate the negative impacts of e-waste by turning it into sustainable human and economic resources by facilitating the creation of accessible, environmentally sound, socially responsible and sustainable e-waste recycling in developing countries.

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In the Metals Group, we handle a wide range of commodities in steel products, ferrous raw materials and non-ferrous metals. By providing global market with stable, sustainable supplies of high-quality mineral resources and metal products, we are helping countries around the world to continue developing more affluent societies.

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In 2010, around 7.5 kg per inhabitant of WEEE is reported on a national level as being collected and treated by Wecycle and ICT~Milieu, the two main organisations that implement WEEE producer responsibility in the Netherlands. This is 28% compared to the new WEEE recast level that targets at 65% collection of three previous years of EEE sales. It is known that there are substantial complementary recycling streams.

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Products that Last starts where most books on product development end. From the perspective of designers and entrepreneurs, once a product has been designed, produced and sold, it disappears beyond the newness horizon. They are little aware of the opportunities that exist in the next product universe, where money is made from products in use, as well as from a product’s afterlife.

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Refind Technologies provides intelligent sorting and grading solutions using machine vision and learning. Mainly for the used electronics business but also for the fish industry.

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Conflict resources are natural resources extracted in a conflict zone and sold to perpetuate the fighting. There is both statistical and anecdotal evidence that belligerent accessibility to precious commodities can prolong conflicts (a “resource curse”). 

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40% of e-Waste given to Recyclers gets Shipped Illegally to Polluting Operations Overseas September 15, 2016. Seattle, WA. Utilizing high-tech methods to track high-tech wastes, the environmental watchdog, Basel Action Network (BAN) as part of their e-Trash Transparency Project, funded by the Body Shop Foundation, planted GPS trackers into 205 old printers and monitors and then delivered them to charities and recyclers.

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The e-waste issue is hard to grasp due to a lack of comprehensive data. Though there is considerable knowledge about the negative environmental and health impacts through primitive recycling methods, a better information about the quantitative and qualitative dimensions associated with the e-waste problem would make it more understandable and be more useful in order to better inform policy making at the private and public levels.

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The Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime and the WWF presented a new report at the UN Crime Congress in Doha, Tightening the Net: Towards a Global Legal Framework on Transnational Organised Environmental Crime, reviewing major gaps and the obstacles in the global legal architecture that stand in the way of the global response to transnational organised environmental crime.

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The aim of the Countering WEEE Illegal Trade (CWIT) project is to provide a set of recommendations to support the European Commission, law enforcement authorities, and customs organisations, in countering the illegal trade of eWaste in and from Europe.

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The WEEE Forum is a international association speaking for thirty-six not-for-profit e-waste producer responsibility organisations (PROs). Their mission is to help the PROs succeed operationally, take back and report e-waste efficiently and be known as members of the world’s chief e-waste competence centre and as promoters of a circular economy.

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Did you know that you are sitting on riches? Yes, in the collective pockets and handbags of the world’s citizens are phones containing millions of dollars worth of valuables. An opportunity Professor Veena Sahajalla is keep to explore. Her work could provide new small business opportunities all over the world.

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BAN’s e-Trash Transparency Project is the first large-scale e-waste flow study accomplished by observing actual e-waste movement from the United States into the global marketplace. The result has been sobering. At the outset of the project, the question was posed: Does the public still need to fear that their e-waste, when delivered either to a charity or to a recycler, has a strong likelihood of being exported to a developing country instead of being recycled here in the United States?

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What would be the shortest route between Entre Ríos in Argentina and the Chinese metropolis Shanghai? Simply a straight line through the center of the earth, since the two places are antipodes: they are located diametrically opposite to each other on the earth’s surface. During his visits to four such antipodal pairs, the award-winning documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky captured images that turn our view of the world upside down.

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Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World is a 2016 American documentary film directed by Werner Herzog. In it, Herzog ponders the existential impact of the Internet, robotics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and more on human life.

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The modular phone that’s built to last. “We’ve created the world’s first ethical, modular smartphone. You shouldn’t have to choose between a great phone and a fair supply chain.”

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Agbogbloshie is a nickname of a commercial district on the Korle Lagoon of the Odaw River, near the center of Accra, Ghana’s capital city. Near the slum called “Old Fadama”, the Agbogbloshie site became known as a destination for locally generated automobile and electronic scrap collected from across the City of Accra.

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European Minerals Knowledge Data Platform (EU-MKDP). A simplified, user-friendly and efficient access to all available and new data related to mineral resources
through the ‘Minerals4EU’ Knowledge Data Platform.

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Your smartphone contains about one dollar’s worth of gold, buried in its circuitry. Not a lot. But it could have been bought from an illegal and exploitative mining operation in Colombia. Gold is one of the major conflict resources, along with tin, tungsten, and tantalum. These are the precious commodities often found in the world’s poorest countries and mined under threat of violence from armies and militia.

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Deep in the jungles of Colombia, thousands of small, illegal mining operations, many under the control of Marxist guerrillas or drug traffickers, are working long hours to pull gold out of the ground. Miners are digging in out-of-the-way places such as Timbiquí and Río Quito. From there, the gold is hauled by boat, truck or small airplanes to smelters in Cali and Medellin.

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The Business of Mining’s specials are short research projects on trends in the mining industry. The articles are aimed at providing insights on the state of the business and its major players to the industry and at identifying emerging trends that will influence the future state of the business.

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For thousands of years the mining industry has supplied the world with the raw materials the growing population needed for ever increasing consumption. However, mining is not the only supplier of these raw materials. Next to the primary mining industry a secondary mining industry is growing: ‘urban mining’.

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RSN’s Mining the Disclosures 2015 is a deep analysis of corporate due diligence procedures that identify and address conflict minerals’ risks, human rights performance, and in-region impact. In addition to identifying leading practices, this report ranks the 155 largest market cap corporations among their peers so investors can see which companies need to improve their practices to create change. Because of Section 1502, more companies are recognising that the human rights of miners and local families cannot be separated from the use of these minerals.

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Electronic waste or e-waste recycling in India is mainly motivated by the recovery of value contained in the PWBs (printed wiring boards), which is retrieved by extracting precious metals (mainly gold, silver, palladium) with wet chemical processes, involving highly toxic substances such as mercury and cyanide.

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Luted crucible casting is a lost wax metal casting process in which the crucible is joined to the mould. Unlike many pre-Industrial Age processes this method is still in use today in parts of India and West Africa.

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A collection of recent papers presented in honour of archeologist Mario Benzi.

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Archaeometallurgy is one of the earliest manifestations of archaeometric research, using science‐based approaches to address cultural–historical questions. This review first outlines the extent of the field, defining in some detail the main branches of archaeometallurgy, and their specific methodological approaches.

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Interest in the study of early European cultures is growing. These cultures have left us objects made of gold, other metals and ceramics. The advent of metal detectors, coupled with improved analytical techniques, has increased the number of findings of such objects enormously. Gold was used for economic and ceremonial purposes and thus the gold objects are an important key to our understanding of the social and political structures, as well as the technological achievements, of Bronze and Iron Age European societies.

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The study of ancient metals in their social and cultural contexts has been a topic of considerable interest in archaeology and ancient history for decades, partly due to the modern dependence on technology and man-made materials. The formal study of Archaeometallurgy began in the 1970s-1980s, and has seen a recent growth in techniques, data, and theoretical movements.

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The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) of 1998 endeavors to balance the interests of internet service providers and copyright owners when copyright infringement occurs in the digital environment.

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The 1960s are often thought of as the decade of disposability. Expendability was indeed a central aspect of much of the culture of the 1960s: it was both a physical fact of many products, and a symbol of belief in the modem age. Obsolescence was not only accepted by the fashion-conscious young, often it was positively celebrated.

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Jerry Do-It-Together is a PC manufactured with computer components re assembled in a canister of twenty liters, for workshops creative breakout. This can is decorated freely, to personalize it. It is part of Do it yourself resources.

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The Motorola Droid Bionic is the first dual-core smartphone operating on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Join us as we take a peek inside this behemoth of a phone.

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Liter of Light is a global, grassroots movement that uses inexpensive, readily available materials to provide high quality solar lighting to people with limited or no access to electricity.

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Device Analyzer collects usage statistics in the background while you use your phone. This data is stripped of personally identifying information as best as possible while preserving useful information. Periodically the recorded data is uploaded to our server at the University of Cambridge, where we will aggregate it with other people’s data and draw inferences from the patterns that emerge.

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The EU Commission, member states and producers should take measures to ensure consumers can enjoy durable high-quality products that can be repaired.

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In April, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called out a handful of companies — including Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft – for illegally voiding people’s warranties when they tried to repair their game consoles and electronics themselves.

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Onstage at today’s hardware announcement event, Apple proudly announced that the 2018 models of its MacBook Air and Mac mini would both be manufactured with 100 percent recycled aluminium. But the environmental impact of a product doesn’t just come down to the materials that go into it.

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“In 2011, the Motorola Droid Bionic became the most repairable smartphone we’d ever disassembled, scoring a 9 out of 10 on our repairability scale. And today, Motorola continues their dedication to putting consumers first—they’re the first smartphone manufacturer ever to supply OEM parts to iFixit.”

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10-year spare part availability – That’s how long we keep every part in stock for your device – at least. And if, against all odds, it should ever be unavailable, you will receive a replacement device, free of charge. Festool tools are designed for long and intensive use. You can rely on that. Even after 10 years.

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Fnac Darty announced that it is in the advanced stages of exclusive negotiations to acquire a majority interest in WeFix, the French leader in express smartphone repair. Founded in 2012, WeFix has a network of 59 points of sales in France and Belgium, with a team of experts repairing the main models of smartphones in 20 minutes on average.

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The French Government has announced that it will harmonise the types of materials collected and the colour of bins, as part of its Circular Economy Roadmap. This means that all French people will be given simple information to understand what can and can’t be recycled on packaging.

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The French government is considering whether to up its fight against the preplanned obsolescence of electronic goods and home appliances by introducing a “lifetime” index label on such products to alert customers of their durability.

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Groupe SEB has become the first small domestic appliance manufacturer to launch a 10-year repairability programme in the UK. The group, which owns brands Tefal, Rowenta, Moulinex and Krups, hopes to offer easy repair for 95 per cent of its product range for 10 years or more.

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The problems of monopolized repair are not new, the legislative solutions are not new, but our organization is relatively new. Our organization dates back on July of 2013 when several trade associations representing repair and resale businesses joined forces to create the Digital Right to Repair Coalition – a New Jersey 501 (c) 6 non-profit corporation. This is our story.

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This paper looks at the magnitude e-waste trade in Ghana by analyzing the growing trade in electronic products ostensibly “to bridge the digital divide”. It also examines its current management practices.

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Geekbench 4 measures your system’s power and tells you whether your computer is ready to roar. How strong is your mobile device or desktop computer? How will it perform when push comes to crunch? These are the questions that Geekbench can answer.

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The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

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Make it last: A century ago, the fashion industry aimed to produce quality goods that lasted a lifetime. For at least half a century now, the mainstream fashion industry has intentionally produced goods of poorer quality to encourage continuous consumption. Do you see any shifts in attitudes today among the larger fashion brands and retailers in “moving away” from this business strategy?

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The notion that software engineers are not responsible for things that go wrong will be laid to rest for good, and we will have to work out how to develop and maintain code that will go on working dependably for decades in environments that change and evolve. And as security becomes ever more about safety rather than just privacy, we will have sharper policy debates about surveillance, competition, and consumer protection.

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What happens when your car starts getting monthly upgrades like your phone and your laptop? It’s starting to happen, and the changes will be profound. We’ll be able to improve car safety as we learn from accidents, and fixing a flaw won’t mean spending billions on a recall.

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Italy’s anti-trust watchdog said on Wednesday it was fining Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) 5 million euros ($5.7 million) each following complaints they used software updates to slow down their mobile phones.

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Italy’s anti-trust watchdog said on Wednesday it was fining Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) 5 million euros ($5.7 million) each following complaints they used software updates to slow down their mobile phones.

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Apple views this as a feature intended to provide the best user experience possible, and make iPhones last as long as possible, but it wasn’t very transparent about the changes, leading some customers to believe that Apple is purposefully slowing down older iPhones as a form of planned obsolescence.

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Under French law it is a crime to intentionally shorten lifespan of a product with the aim of making customers replace it. In December, Apple admitted that older iPhone models were deliberately slowed down through software updates. But it insisted it was because the phones’ battery performance diminished over time.

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The suit charges that the companies’ printers falsely show various components “at the end of their life” and ink cartridges empty when they still have ink.

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Continuing the debate on extractivism in Latin America. Don Fitz says it highlights different views on what type of society we are working to build and how we plan to get there.

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After years of lobbying, the problem of planned obsolescence gained ground in Europe’s legislative arena when, on 4 July 2017, the European Parliament approved its Resolution on a longer lifetime for products: benefits for consumers and companies.

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Based on anecdotal observation, many iPhone users have long believed that older iPhones get slower over time. Generally, people have assumed that this is because of new features and additions in new versions of iOS that are better optimized for the latest phones.

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Charging your phone on the go is essential, and portable chargers and solar chargers are a great way of giving us a boost. But a new disposable one-use charger provides convenience at a huge cost – both on the environment but also the workers who have to deal with it once the waste is shipped off to other countries.

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Gold mining in the Philippines

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Before you upgrade your next iPhone, you may want to consider a $29 battery instead. Not only will the choice save you money, it could help save the planet.

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Last year, an iOS update killed touch functionality on iPhone 8 devices that had been repaired with third-party screens by independent repair stores. Patch notes for the update said that third-party replacement parts might not work correctly, but a week later another update resolved the issue. The message was clear: Software updates can kill core functionality on phones repaired by a third party.

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A narrated description of the steelmaking process.

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Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics “Right to Repair” legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill’s path through the statehouse.

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Aurubis is a leading worldwide provider of non-ferrous metals. We process complex metal concentrates and diverse recycling raw materials. Aurubis is the global leader for copper recycling.

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Blog posts about the Royal Mint Museum Inventory Project. The plaster models, rubber moulds, electrotypes and punches in the Museum store each represent a stage in the process of transforming a design from a concept into a coin, medal or seal.

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Apple is facing a class action lawsuit over the design of its MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards which, consumers complain, has keys that are prone to becoming stuck. The lawsuit follows a litany of complaints across user forums, specialist media and a petition with over 21,000 signatures urging Apple to recall the Mac laptops released since late 2016.

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In September 2014, a federal judge approved a $5 million settlement of three consolidated false advertising class-action lawsuits against Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). The complaints, which were filed between 2005 and 2007, alleged that HP misrepresented facts about its ink cartridges and printers.

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Washing machine manufacturers have been accused of making appliances that are so costly to fix it is cheaper to buy a new one. Leading brands have changed the design of their machines so they are virtually impossible to repair.

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The Phoebus cartel existed to control the manufacture and sale of incandescent light bulbs. They appropriated market territories and fixed the useful life of such bulbs. Corporations based in Europe and America founded the cartel on January 15, 1925 in Geneva.

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The light bulb that has brightened the fire-department garage in Livermore, California, for the past hundred and fifteen years will not burn out. Instead, it will “expire.” When it does, it certainly won’t be thrown out. It will be “laid to rest.”

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It’s widely held that certain gadgets, cars and other tech have deliberately short lifespans, to make you shell out to replace them. What’s the reality?

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One of the most profound changes in the last decade is the dramatic shrinkage of product life cycles (1998: Hill and Jones: embryonic – growth – shakeout – maturity decline)  which bear little resemblance to the world today which is defined by instant obsolescence.

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The management consultants’ Mine 2015 report shows the top 40 companies suffering their first collective net loss in history ($27 billion), a decline in collective market capitalization of 37% (to below half a trillion dollars from a peak of $1.6 trillion in 2010), the lowest return on capital ever, asset impairments totalling $53 billion (for a total of nearly $200 billion since 2010), record high leverage of 46% and operating expenditure cuts of $83 billion.

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The EERA members seek to work collaboratively with other stakeholders like the producers, take back schemes, governments and European Commission to improve the accountability of the value chain. Together with the supply chain of collectors, transporters, sorters, the WEEE reuse, recycling and reprocessing industry is a significant sector in our economy and provides jobs for > 10.000 people and contributes to conserving [2,9 million] tonnes of CO2 annually.

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Planned obsolescence, or built-in obsolescence, in industrial design and economics is a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so it will become obsolete (that is, unfashionable or no longer functional) after a certain period of time.

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Sheet lamination processes include ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) and laminated object manufacturing (LOM). The Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing process uses sheets or ribbons of metal, which are bound together using ultrasonic welding. The process does require additional CNC machining and removal of the unbound metal, often during the welding process.

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A hacked car that could kill you should be more worrying than a thousand lightbulbs taking Facebook offline. University of Cambridge’s Professor Ross Anderson explains why safety should be higher on the agenda than privacy.

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Designer Bas van Abel decided to create a mobile phone, while exploiting man and nature as little as possible. The dilemma’s he encountered while manufacturing his Fairphone are lessons for everyone who strives to run a fair company.

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iFixit is the free repair manual that you can edit. Repair is stuck in the 20th century. Service manuals are almost never available online, and the few troubleshooting forums that exist are rife with spam and ad-baiting. Reliable parts suppliers that understand e-commerce are few and far between.

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The Story of Broke, released on November 8, 2011, calls for a shift in government spending toward investments in clean, green solutions—renewable energy, safer chemicals and materials, zero waste and more—that can deliver jobs and a healthier environment.

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The Story of Stuff, originally released in December 2007, is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world.

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Pakistan has become an illegal dumping ground for some of the 50 million tons of e-waste created each year. Karachi’s poor earn a living from the toxic detritus, but the vicious cycle of consumption could prove fatal.

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The reactivity series shows metals in order of reactivity. The reactivity of a metal can be worked out by studying its reactions. Iron and aluminium are extracted from their ores in different ways.

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The development of civilisation has relied heavily on the discovery of metals. Prehistoric man used metals to build tools and weapons and as our knowledge of metallurgy has developed, metals have played an essential role in the advancement of agriculture, transport and arts and craft – forging the path to today’s modern society.

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The problems associated with the recycling of e-waste in Africa, for both people and the environment, are well-known. Less well known, though, are the benefits that sustainable recycling can bring. Oeko-Institut’s new project aims to investigate and facilitate the transition to sustainable recycling solutions to recover scarce and valuable metals like platinum, indium etc. from locally generated end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment and end-of-life vehicles, by developing and implementing new strategies for recycling these scrap flows in a manner that respects public health, is environmentally sound, and is socially acceptable.

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Inside Ivory Coast’s hidden gold rush takes a look at the gold mining industry in Ivory Coast. For a long time mining was seen as a dirty alternative to a more wholesome farming lifestyle. But some of the richest gold-mining potential in Africa is luring hundreds of thousands of Ivorians off the land and into the mines.

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E-waste, is often shipped by developed nations to poorer countries such as Ghana. RTD visits the country’s most infamous dumping ground, Agbogbloshie. Locals call it “Sodom and Gomorrah” after the infamous Biblical sin cities. Its air and soil are polluted with toxic chemicals, while extreme poverty, child labour and criminal gangs are also rife.

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Agbogbloshie is a wetland and former recreation area in Accra (Ghana), which is surrounded by a river that streams through a lagoon straight into the Atlantic Ocean. Before you enter the burning fields of Agbogbloshie, you will recognise the onion market. On one side you can buy cheap local fruits and vegetables and on the other side you will see loads of manufacturers and scrap dealers.

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A hacked car that could kill you should be more worrying than a thousand lightbulbs taking Facebook offline. University of Cambridge’s Professor Ross Anderson explains why safety should be higher on the agenda than privacy.

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The Story of Electronics, released in November 2011, employs the Story of Stuff style to explore the high-tech revolution’s collateral damage—25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill. Host Annie Leonard takes viewers from the mines and factories where our gadgets begin to the horrific backyard recycling shops in China where many end up.

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A pioneering work from the 1960s about how the rapid growth of disposable consumer goods degraded the environmental, financial and spiritual character of western society. It exposed the increasing commercialisation of American life, when people bought things they didn’t need or want.

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This book is a highly illustrated “map,” using photos, infographics and statistics, showing designers how they can successfully navigate the emerging field of resource management and the circular economy.

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Although design has become eminently newsworthy among the general public in our society, there is very little understanding to be found of the values and implications that underlie it. Design generates much heat but little light: we live in a world that has much design consciousness, but little design awareness.

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First published in 1960, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age has become required reading in numerous courses on the history of modern architecture and is widely regarded as one of the definitive books on the modern movement.

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In the wake of multiple scandalous discoveries of piles of used Ofo and Lime ride- share bikes in the US and China, the Basel Action Network (BAN) and its e-waste recycling program, e-Stewards®, is calling on all bicycle and scooter rideshare companies, and the city governments that license them, […]

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Basel Action Network (BAN) is now offering an enterprise-scale version of their technology to corporations and governments of all kinds.

Launched today, EarthEyeTM offers real-time logistics monitoring to government agencies and to businesses concerned about the possibility of data-security breaches […]

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A powerful documentary about the dumping of toxic computer wastes on developing nations, specifically Guiyu, China.

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You buy a new phone or computer and you take your old one to a local recycler. It’s the green thing to do, right? Well, it turns out a lot of those devices may not be getting recycled at all. The United States is the single largest producer of electronic waste, generating almost 8 million tons a year.

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e-Stewards® is a global team of individuals, institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies upholding a safe, ethical, and globally responsible standard for e-waste recycling and refurbishment.

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Wastes, including electronic waste, are subject to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Some electronic wastes  – like cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs and monitors are classified as hazardous waste in the U.S.

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Over the next few years, one billion computers will be obsolete. By 2020, the total waste electrical and electronic equipment WEEE is estimated to grow between 2.5% and 2.7% annually, reaching a total of approximately 12.3 million tons.

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The only way to stop ocean plastic is to reveal the value in plastic by transferring as much value as possible into the hands of the collectors. (David Katz, founder & CEO of Plastic Bank). The company, formed in 2013, pays people to collect plastic waste and take it to recycling markets in Haiti and, more recently, the Philippines.

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Fill up the bag and place it in the designated spot; this can be anywhere from your local mall, to the pavement in front of your house, to your local gym, depending on the set-up in your neighbourhood.

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In December 2015, the European Commission relaunched a strategy for moving Europe towards a ‘Circular Economy’ which includes a set of legislative proposals to revise key EU waste laws.

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The history of waste mirrors that of the societies that produced it, and their relationship with the environment and the resources they mobilised. Until the industrial revolution, the management of urban excreta was predominantly linked with urban salubrity.

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The disposal, treatment, and recovery of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) are becoming a global environmental issue. These issues drive the developed and the developing countries to set up and improve the management systems for the waste

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Directive 2002/96/EU is the the European Union’s (EU) measures to prevent the generation of electrical and electronic waste and to promote reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery in order to reduce the quantity of such waste to be eliminated, whilst also improving the environmental performance of economic operators involved in its management.

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The transition to a more circular economy, where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimised, is an essential contribution to the EU’s efforts to develop a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy.

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Some countries mainly in Europe (e.g. Switzerland, Netherland and Belgium) started to experiment with new approaches in managing hi-tech waste stream more than twenty years ago.

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As managing e-waste becomes a priority, countries are being forced to develop new models for the collection and environmentally sound disposal of this waste.

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You are a collector if you receive e-waste for recycling from businesses, government agencies, or house- holds, and then send that ewaste to another collector or a recycling facility without processing.

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Veolia and its partners have created a recycling loop for small appliances — France’s first complete circular economy for small appliances, the companies say.

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India is the fastest-growing market in the world for smartphones. Such phones and other electronics contributed to 1.5 million tonnes of e-waste produced in India in 2015, 90% of which was managed by the informal sector using unscientific methods.

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Apple has made much of how green its business is. But how green is it really?  Complaints about its environmental footprint have been a corporate priority for years. Indeed, to its credit, Apple has been at the forefront of technology industry efforts to use fewer, and greener, materials in the construction of electronic devices. Even better, Apple is apparently making an effort to refurbish on its own and, when necessary, recycle the products that it manufactures.

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“Mainly, what is happening now is there is less exportation to China. So the material remains in Quebec. And we store, and store and store the recyclables in sorting centres,” said Karel Ménard, the director of environmental group Front commun québécois pour une gestion écologique des déchets (FCQGED).

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Thailand, with its lax environmental laws, has become a dumping ground for this e-waste over the past six months, but authorities are clamping down, fearful that the country will become the “rubbish dump of the world”. For locals, it is unclear why Thailand should be taking this waste.

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The ban was hailed as a big win for global green efforts by environmentalists, who said it would not only clean up China, but also force other countries to better manage their own trash. More than three months into the ban, waste exporters such as the U.S., Europe and Japan are still scrambling for an alternative to China, experts told CNBC.

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For most of mankind’s history rubbish disposal was not a major problem. The amount generated had little impact simply because there wasn’t that many of us. With the age of industrialisation came urbanisation, and as a result large populations quickly arose. Cities soon became very crowded and the accumulation of waste grew.

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Throughout history, waste has been generated by humans. In areas with low population density waste generation may have been negligible. In higher population areas even largely biodegradable waste had to be dealt with.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System (e-Manifest), which will improve access to higher quality and more timely hazardous waste shipment data.

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The waste management in Switzerland is based on the polluter pays principle. Bin bags are taxed with pay-per-bag fees in three quarters of the communes and the recycling rate doubled in twenty years.

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Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), also known as Product Stewardship, is a strategy to place a shared responsibility for end-of-life product management on the producers, and all entities involved in the product chain, instead of the general public; while encouraging product design changes that minimize a negative impact on human health and the environment at every stage of the product’s lifecycle.

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Rotor Deconstruction sells reusable materials from quality buildings undergoing transformation or demolition. An online store provides detailed descriptions of the item and its origin.

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Rotor Deconstruction is a Brussels-based non-profit firm engaged in promoting and facilitating the reuse of building components as a strategy on the path towards a more resource-efficient materials economy.

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‘Maximum’ designs and manufacture furniture in series from waste, losses and rejects of industrial productions.

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A circular economy is an economic system aimed at minimising waste and making the most of resources. This regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production. In a circular system resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops; this can be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and upcycling.

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The Circular Economy could bring significant environmental, social and economic benefits to the European Union. In order to deliver resource efficiency, job creation, low-carbon prosperity, a healthy environment, clean production and sustainable consumption, it is necessary to take a holistic approach by working across a number of policy areas. This paper highlights four key areas the undersigned NGOs believe must be addressed by the EU institutions to ensure a fully functioning circular economy, and some of the often overlooked benefits that can result.

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An August report on the illegal trade in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) by the CWIT consortium, whose members include Interpol and United Nations agencies, puts Spain at the bottom of the recycling effort in Europe, ahead of only Romania and Cyprus.

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Circular economies are particularly relevant in the context of digital devices or electric and electronic equipment (EEE). Many digital devices built using scarce and potentially toxic materials have a too-short life, instead of being repaired or reused. This PDF presents eReuse.org, a set of open-source tools, procedures, open data, and services organised as a common-pool resource (CPR) to reach the circular economy of electronics through promoting reuse and ensuring traceability until recycling.

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When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter-veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner-travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment.

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