25 May 2018
Up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste, worth nearly £12bn is illegally traded or dumped each year, according to the UN Environment Programme.
The results of BAN’s study showed that the e-waste they tracked ended up in places including Hong Kong, Mainland China and Thailand. According to the report, these exports were probably illegal under international law, as well as the importing countries’ laws.
“Through enhanced international cooperation and legislative coherence, stronger national regulations and enforcement, as well as greater awareness and robust prevention measures we can ensure that the illegal trade and dumping of e-waste is brought to an end. This will create a win-win situation, whereby rare and expensive elements are safely recycled and reused, boosting the formal economy, depriving criminals of income and reducing health risks to the public.” Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of Unep.
Unfortunately the export of hazardous e-waste to substandard, informal recycling operations in Asian countries continues. How can you help? Here’s a few ideas -
1. Play your part in helping to reduce the global e-waste problem by being mindful about swapping your old but fully functional devices for a shiny new version – do you really need it?
2. If you really do require a new piece of tech, try to buy from companies that use recycled materials in their products and who support the proper handling of e-waste. Take a look at ethicalconsumer.org for advice.
3. Donate or sell your old technology items wherever possible.
4. NEVER throw away unwanted appliances. Make sure you search for a reputable recycler instead.
The importance of responsible computer recycling has never been more vital, if you want to keep your personal and organisational secrets to yourself and help to reduce the mounting e-waste problem around the globe. If your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration, to ensure ultimate data security. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.