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GES 465 - Sustainable Strategies for E-Waste Management

  • 3 credits
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Description: A trans-disciplinary overview of the electronics industry, with an emphasis on sources and impacts of e-waste on human and natural systems. Students will learn systems approaches to mitigating environmental and social impacts of electronics—from product design, materials and manufacture to use, re-use, recycle and disposal. Apply these learnings in trans-disciplinary project teams to evaluate opportunities for improving the sustainability of the industry and its products. Junior standing required. Credit not allowed for both GES 481A1 and MSE 481A1.

Course objectives: Upon completion of the course, students should be able to 1) Relate the challenge of managing e- waste to the broader goal of developing sustainable electronics; 2) Describe the sources of e- waste in the life cycle of major electronics products, as well as the trends for future e-waste generation; 3) List the components of electronic devices and explain their chemical and material composition and properties; 4) Compare and contrast the e-waste stream with other waste streams (e.g. municipal solid waste, mining and drilling waste) at a national and global level; 5) Describe the chemical processes involved in mining/extraction, processing, recycling, and disposal of materials used in electronic devices; 6) Assess the human toxicity and eco-toxicity and environmental fate of chemicals found in e-waste and the biological mechanisms of these toxic effects; 7) Describe the current state of laws and regulations affecting e-waste; 8) Analyze the social, economic, and political issues surrounding natural resources, e-waste disposal, and pollution caused by e-waste in light of global and environmental justice concerns; 9) Describe consumer attitudes about e-waste and manufacturer marketing approaches to e-waste and to formulate future novel approaches; 10) Perform cradle to grave lifecycle analyses of the materials used in electronic devices including natural resource use, manufacture, shipping, sales, use, re-use, component re-use, recycling, and disposal; 11) Evaluate current efforts to design new approaches that facilitate the re-use, recycling, reduction in toxicity, and safe disposal of electronic materials; 12) Apply the aforementioned learning outcomes in a collaborative team project.

Acknowledgements: The initial development of this course during the summer and fall of 2017 and its teaching at Colorado State University during Spring 2018 and Fall 2018 was funded by Arrow Electronics. A special thanks goes to Carol Baroudi for her role on the development team and for her support and inspiration.


Credit not allowed for both GES 465 and MSE 465


Terry M. Gray

9704917003 |

Dr. Gray received his B.S. in molecular biology from Purdue University and his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Oregon. He has been a biology, chemistry, and biochemistry instructor/professor at Calvin College, Colorado State University, and Front Range Community College. He was also a staff scientist in the Chemistry Department at Colorado State University where he wore many hats: IT support, network and system administration, instructional computing, and computational chemist.

Dr. Gray has conducted research in the areas of protein structure, stability, and folding at the University of Oregon, Calvin College, and Texas A&M University. Energy is an interest being spurred on by teaching the chemistry course for non-science majors at Colorado State University, where about a third of the course is devoted to energy and environment related topics. This interest has resulted in two ebooks with co-author Anthony K. Rappé: Molecules of Life with a Chemistry Bootcamp (2016) and Energy: What the World Needs Now (2013-2016). He is also interested in the intersection of religion and science and was a contributor to Perspectives on an Evolving Creation (2003, Eerdmans). Dr Gray has a long-standing involvement with the American Scientific Affiliation.