The legions of fans who thronged to drop $200 on an iPhone 3G in July probably did not think much about the gadget's fate when obsolescence eventually renders it scrap. But Apple definitely has been. Under pressure from tightening global anti-pollution standards, threat of environmental lawsuits and more awareness of corporate responsibility, Apple and other technology firms are racing to place a "green" stamp of environmental approval on their operations and products.
It's easy to understand why, when one considers the electricity used to run data centers (and keep them air conditioned), the vast quantities of water and toxic chemicals used to make components and the mountain of electronics put out to pasture each year by consumers and businesses.
According to the International Association of Electronics Recyclers, about 400 million units of electronic junk, or "e-waste," is generated annually. Most of it is thought to reside in consumers' closets and basements--as consumers become more reticent to send their gadgets to landfills, but have no clue how to responsibly dispose of them.
Source: Wharton Business School, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
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