A recent report by the European Union found that only about a third of Europe’s e-waste is being disposed of properly.
“The rest wound up in landfills and black market sales and exports, which can lead to economic, environmental and health problems,” Newsweek said. “Proper disposal methods for e-waste exist, but many European consumers and companies don’t use them.”
This isn’t just Europe’s problem. A study by the United Nations released earlier this year found that the United States had the dubious honor of being the world’s biggest e-waste dumpers, discarding 7.1 million tons of e-waste.
In 2008, 60 Minutes traveled to southern China and promised to show viewers “one of the most toxic places on earth.”
It was a place, said correspondent Scott Pelley “where you can’t breathe the air or drink the water…where the blood of the children is laced with lead.”
How had the town of Guiyu gotten that way? Much of the blame lies with e-waste: old computers, cell phones and other electronic devices thrown away by Americans who thought they were recycling their technological assets.
Instead, these electronics were shipped to China, and then broken down for the valuable metals inside them, leaving toxic materials like mercury and lead behind.
And not much has changed since 2008. A recent report by Reuters found that Guiyu remains one of the largest — if not the largest — e-waste dump in the world.
Stories like this illustrate why it’s best to find an asset recovery solutions company with an environmentally responsible worldview. At CWI, most of the equipment we process can be resold and reused, which is the greenest way to dispose of old devices.