Electronics not being recycled
by Khalid Magram (QMI Agency), Toronto Sun
22 April 2010 – If you are trying to protect the environment and your children’s health by recycling your cellphones, TVs, and computers, there is something else to be concerned about.
"The so-called recyclers out there are not really recycling, what they're doing is loading up containers and shipping things off," says Jim Puckett, executive director of the Seattle-based Basel Action Network (BAN).
The non-governmental charity -- which works to combat the export of waste and toxic products and technology from industrialized societies to developing countries -- says up to 80% of obsolete TV’s, computers, cellphones and other electronics exported overseas by unscrupulous Canadian recyclers are dumped or burned, contaminating communities risking the health of children in China, Nigeria, Ghana and other developing countries.
Most electronic equipment contains toxic substances such as lead, cadmium and mercury which pose a risk to human health and the environment.
In Canada, exporting e-waste to developing nations is illegal, however, Puckett says it still occurs because of a lack of enforcement.
Many provinces have waste diversion programs for electronic products, and BAN has a list of e-stewards or electronics recyclers and asset managers who have been qualified as upholding the highest standard of environmental and social responsibility.
The e-recyclers audit includes a physical on-site review of practices and environmental health and safety, along with a detailed audit of source documents related to the movement of all materials through the chain of custody to their final processing position.
To find one in your area, visit www.e-stewards.org.
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The Basel Action Network is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.