In the 21st century, technology and material flows constitute an ever-growing set of global environmental change. In particular, electronic wastes are emerging as a major transnational problem. Industrial nations are shipping millions of obsolete computers to Asia yearly; Asian countries are emerging as generators of e-waste in their own right. This article argues that an environmental justice approach can help illuminate the impacts of technology and material flows. To do so, however, environmental justice definitions and methodologies need to account for how and why such flows occur. Using the case of computers, the article analyses some factors shaping the e-waste recycling chain, shows how e-waste risks depend on design and manufacturing chains, and evaluates inequalities in the ecological and health impacts of e-wastes across Asia. It proposes a definition of environmental justice as obviating the production of risk, using a framework that brings together the global production system, development models, and regulatory action.

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