This page has been archived, and may no longer be up to date

Electronic Waste in China

Standard Page - 2009-07-24
Your old laptop is far more dangerous than you might think. With electronics being upgraded and replaced every few years, the world now has millions of tons of old electronics to deal with. Unfortunately, many countries choose the easy way out and ship their e-waste – containing a cocktail of hazardous chemicals – to China, India and Africa.

Your old laptop is far more dangerous than you might think. With electronics being upgraded and replaced every few years, the world now has millions of tons of old electronics to deal with. Unfortunately, many countries choose the easy way out and ship their e-waste – containing a cocktail of hazardous chemicals – to China, India and Africa.

Guiyu, China, is one of the largest electronic waste sites on earth. Here old electronics from the developed world come to their final resting place – at high cost to the environment and the thousands of workers and their children.

A woman breaks down circuit boards by hand in Taizhou, Zhejiang province.

Where does e-waste come from?

E-waste is now the fastest growing component of the municipal solid waste stream because people are upgrading their mobile phones, computers, televisions and audio equipment much more frequently than ever before. Mobile phones and computers are the biggest problem because they are replaced most often.

A pile of keyboards

 

Find out more about the export trade of e-waste, and Guiyu, China’s largest e-waste disposal site and an environmental nightmare.

Categories