Now that 60 Minutes has made us afraid of recycling e-waste, where can we turn?


If you caught Sunday night's episode of 60 Minutes, you were treated to not just an incredible example of journalism but also a gripping story about what happens to the personal computers and laptops we recycle--it's a tale that apparently often ends in Guiyu, China where you can't breathe the air without hacking, and most of the children have lead coursing through their blood. That's because in Guiyu, workers are paid $8 a day to dismantle electronic waste, and they use chemicals to burn away the plastic to extract the metals lodged in the equipment. And during this process, lead, mercury and polyvinyl chloride are released, all of which are all cancer-causing agents.

It was a great story, especially when CBS correspondent Scott Pelley confronted Brandon Richter, CEO of Executive Recycling in Englewood, Colorado. Richter had been interviewed, talking about the importance of safely recycling e-waste and his company's web site, according to 60 Minutes, had stressed that they never sent the laptops, monitors and other electronic equipment oversees. It was all done here in the United States (the web site makes no mention of that now).