003 - Recycling and
Geographic Knowledge and Understanding
The disposal and recycling of consumer items, including international flows of waste.
The process of recycling creates possibilities for increased global interactions. The movement of waste can often pass from wealthier to poorer places.
To understand what the difference between the disposal of waste and recycling is.
To have knowledge of how our waste passes beyond national boundaries and the impact that this has on the country of destination.
Activity One - Empathy
Every one of you owns more than one electrical device, whether it may be a phone, laptop, tablet, home computer, printer, TV, camera etc, do you ever consider what happens to you device once you upgrade? Maybe you leave it in a drawer or your garage for a while before you take it to the tip (dechetterie) but where does it go to then? A lot of our electrical equipment will be sent abroad for dismantling and perhaps parts of it recycled, but who does it?
Describe what is happening in the picture.
How does the image below make you feel?
Spend 5 minutes researching where this picture could have been taken and where the rubbish may have started its life. It is important to consider the global chain of waste transfer.
Activity Two - Describe
Now you have some empathy for the people who are dealing with our waste we now need to look at the types of electronics or e-waste that we 'dump', why we 'dump' it and where it goes. Watch the youtube clip below and answer the questions provided on the life cycle of our electronics.
What is e-waste?
Why are electronics designed for the dump?
What is Moore's Law?
How has Moore's Law been adapted to the electronics industry?
Describe the manufacturing process and the types of materials that go into our electronics.
Describe are some of the health problems linked to the production of our electronics.
Where does our e-waste go?
Why does our e-waste go abroad?
What is product take back?
What impact can we have on this process?
How can product take back be linked to the concept of the circular economy?
Activity Three - Describe
We could have focused on any type of waste but as we send our obsolete devices such as chrome books to school-supported charities it is important to think about the direct impact we are having . Below is a map of where the known and suspected routes of e-waste are. Answer the questions below by using the map, youtube clip, and the articles in the 'Useful Resources' box.
Describe the known and suspected routes of e-waste dumping.
Watch the youtube clip below in the 'Useful Resources' box by Greenpeace below and describe where the e-waste from the UK traveled to.
Why does our e-waste go to these areas?
What impact does our e-waste have on countries with weaker environmental controls?
Read the two articles in the 'Useful Resources' box and make notes on why e-waste is such a contentious issue.
Activity Four - Recycling
While we may not like to think of where our electronics go to 'die' and the impact that it has on human health, this waste is in some form recycled. Unfortunately recycling is not always a clean green process such as the one that turns our plastic bottles into fleeces. Your task is to use the resources below to create a detailed example of how e-waste is recycled. Remember to include the following:
Transfer of waste (from where and going to)
Process of recycling
Don't forget the data
Short summary of the issue of e-waste recycling
The world's largest e-waste site
Activity Five - The Future
So we have so far looked at perhaps the dark side of recycling and one that we would like to put out of our minds but is there another way? Read the article in the 'Useful Resources' box and make notes on what we could do to recycle our e-waste more ethically.
Exam Style Question
Explain two positive reasons to recycle [2+2].