“Many people will receive a new computer or cell phone this holiday season – and throw out their old equipment. And when old TVs and computers end up in landfills, the toxic metals and flame retardants they contain can cause environmental problems.
Yet even recycling your e-waste, as it’s called, does not always mean you’re doing the right thing.
“The dirty little secret is that when you take [your electronic waste] to a recycler, instead of throwing it in a trashcan, about 80 percent of that material, very quickly, finds itself on a container ship going to a country like China, Nigeria, India, Vietnam, Pakistan – where very dirty things happen to it,” says Jim Puckett, the executive director of the Basel Action Network, which works to keep toxic waste out of the environment.
Recyclers can make money from selling scavenged metal from electronic equipment, says Puckett, but the process to retrieve usable metals is typically extremely toxic. Workers who remove the metals often have no protective equipment and breathe in high levels of toxic chemicals, which are then released into the atmosphere. And most of the countries where the processing takes place – China, India, Ghana, Pakistan – do not have regulations in place to protect workers or prevent the primitive recycling operations.”
For the full story by National Public Radio, please click here.
Certified Green Plus Global Electric Electronic Processing (GEEP) is the industry leader for Investment Recovery globally. GEEP is a best-in-class service provider focused on reverse supply chain solutions for telecom and IT products. The company employs state-of-the-art recycling facilities using innovative equipment for electronics processing and the management of IT and Telecom assets. For more on the GEEP approach to recycling electronic waste, go to www.geepglobal.com.
The Institute for Sustainable Development