Our gadget-obsessed lifestyles mean that we often throw away electronic devices when we're finished with them. Ever wondered what happens to your old TV, even if you’ve done the right thing, and dropped it off at a recycling facility? Here's a story about what certain dubious 'recycling' companies do when they get hold of your old television:
Step 1) They declare your old TV reusable (knowing or simply not caring that it's actually broken) so that it can be shipped off to a third world country as a 'second-hand good'.
Step 2) They ship your TV, along with many other electronic devices, to one of those 'popular' destinations for e-waste; which include Ghana, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and China.
Step 3) They allow kids to take the TV apart using crude tools such as stones to recover some of the metal (whilst getting contaminated by toxic metals and chemicals in the process), and then pocket the profit.
Step 4) They have their little recycling scam exposed by a three year long Greenpeace investigation.
Step 5) They get prosecuted in the UK for exporting hazardous electronic waste.
Step 5 is the latest development in a rather long story that Greenpeace has been following for many years. When we exposed the e-waste scandal in the UK, we were hoping it would be duly prosecuted. It now looks like it will be - as part of the biggest criminal probe into the illegal export of electrical waste ever carried out by the UK's Environment Agency.
This is a really positive development in the story of e-waste and one that we will be keeping a close eye on.
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