Shipping E-Waste
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Shipping E-Waste To Developing Countries? WHY?

The Basel Convention, an international treaty, specifically addresses the issue of Shipping E-Waste and prohibits developed nations from transporting hazardous waste, such as e-waste, to developing countries. Notably, the United States stands as the only developed nation that hasn’t ratified the Basel Convention, thereby not being bound by its rules regarding the shipping of e-waste.

A study by the Environmental Science and Technology Journal found that developed countries send 23% of their electronic scrap to developing countries each year. This number will likely increase in the future due to the growing demand for electronic products in the West. The European Union has the right to penalize its members for sending e-waste abroad, but some of them manage to avoid it. Shipping e-waste abroad is legal in the U.S. so companies can do this without any consequences.

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Why Companies Ship E-Waste To Developing Countries

The Environmental Protection Agency encourages consumers not to throw away their electronic devices in the garbage. The EPA promotes electronic recycling in order to reduce the amount e-waste ending up on landfills. Why? Electronic waste accounts for only 2% of waste in U.S. landfills but 70% of toxic waste. Electronic devices contain a variety of toxic chemicals including lead, arsenic and mercury. They also contain cadmium copper barium and chromium. These substances can leak out of electronic devices when they are disposed in landfills. They can then contaminate groundwater and absorb into the soil.

Workers sort electronics sent to recycling centres and remove parts like batteries and ink toner. The electronics are then sent through a shredder that reduces them to smaller pieces. The smaller pieces of electronics are separated into different materials and sold on the market.

The cost of running a recycling facility in the U.S. is high, particularly when you consider the amount of labor required to sort the waste. Recycling plants in the U.S. must also adhere to strict safety and environmental regulations. This adds to their operating costs. Some recycling plants found that sending their hazardous eWaste overseas to be processed is cheaper than handling it here in the U.S. But is it ethical to do so?

Safety & Environmental Regulations

The majority of e-waste is sent to China. These countries, unlike the U.S. do not have environmental or safety regulations to protect the people and the environment. Jim Puckett is the executive director of Basel Action Network. He has seen teenage orphans burning electronics in Ghana and emitting toxic fumes. He observed workers in Nigeria tossing electronics that were of no use into a pile, and then lighting them on fire. These workers do not have the necessary safety equipment, like goggles or a mask, to protect them from these toxic substances.

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What Are The Effects Of Shipping E-Waste?

Toxics Link conducted a study in India in order to test the effects e-waste has on these developing countries. India receives large amounts of e-waste each year. In fact, India is only second in the world behind China. The study concentrated on Loni, and Mandoli. These are two regions known for processing a large amount of e-waste coming from developed countries. Researchers found high levels of lead in the soils of both regions. One sample from Loni contained nearly 150 times as much lead as the control sample.

Not only the soil has been affected by e-waste processing in these areas. The study found that both regions’ water supplies were contaminated with heavy metals including mercury. One sample of water taken from Mandoli contained mercury levels that were nearly 710 times higher than the recommended limit. Mercury can affect the nervous system and mucous membranes. It may also cause muscle weakness. Long-term exposure to mercury may even affect the ability to control muscles that are needed to chew or swallow food. This study shows that the electronic waste imported into these developing countries is causing them to suffer.

How To Prevent The Shipping Of E-Waste

Recycling your electronic devices is the best option, but how do you make sure that your e-waste does not end up in developing countries? You should work with a recycler who explicitly states they don’t send their eWaste overseas. Even though they claim to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, many recycling companies still send their waste overseas rather than processing it in the U.S.

Basel Action Network actually conducted an investigation in order to find out where electronic waste went after being dropped off at recycling centers across the country. Researchers installed tracking devices in computers, printers, TVs and other devices, then tracked their travels. Around one-third the tracked e-waste was sent to countries such as Mexico, Taiwan and China, Pakistan, Kenya Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Hong Kong, Kenya, Hong Kong, and the Dominican Republic. Although the recycling centers included in this investigation didn’t claim to keep all waste within the United States, they promoted themselves as eco-friendly despite sending waste abroad.

Contact eCycle Florida

Ask about the policy if it is not stated openly. This will help you learn how the company processes waste. Contact Contact eCycle at 813-669-5555 for more information about our services or to receive a quote check out our 5-star reviews!

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In a hurry? call us now at (813) 463-0079

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