Dec 1, 2010

e-waste exports are deplorable...

Exporting e-waste overseas, where it's dismantled and processed in unimaginably dangerous and harmful ways.

In California, few recyclers tout their green credentials more prominently than John Shegerian, chairman of Electronics Recyclers International in Fresno, who has invested millions in environmental improvements over the past five years.
Shegerian told The Bee that e-waste exports are deplorable. "It's the last thing we want to be known for," he said. "It's just horrible on every level."
Yet documents show that as recently as 2008 even ERI was quietly selling large volumes of e-waste to a Los Angeles exporter who shipped it to Hong Kong. While legal, the sale violated a pledge the company signed with the nation's leading e-waste watchdog group, the Basel Action Network.

That's about as damning as it comes. But there is of course more. Knudson dug up documents that show ERI exported 6.9 million pounds of e-waste, much of it broken and not reusable, and thus destined for the "artisanal recycling" efforts that involve cooking electronics on grills and dipping them in open pits of acid to release valuable metals inside.

"Here's a dirty little secret," Shegerian said, walking through his facility. "About 10 percent of the people in the industry who say they are recycling are really recycling. About 90 percent are still packing and shipping.
"How people do it is they go, 'Oh we're selling it abroad for reuse.' Wink. Wink.
Please read full at GreenBiz