What Does Improper E-Recycling Look Like?

Ghana slum and Sadoff logo 11

Though there are some facilities that improperly e-recycle electronics in the U.S. with illegal burning and other nefarious practices, a majority of the improper e-recycling of U.S. e-waste actually occurs when we export our e-waste. Let’s take a closer look and find out what improper e-recycling looks like.

Is it Illegal to Export E-Waste?

The U.S. is the 2nd worst e-waste polluter. Let's change thatExports are generally a good thing, right? You might even have a business that exports a product. The problem comes when e-waste is exported. Now, technically speaking, the export of e-waste is illegal according to a treaty that was signed by 186 nations including the U.S. One issue with that though is that the treaty, which has been signed since 1990, has yet to be ratified by the U.S.

This treaty also bans the import of e-waste, and since Haiti is the only other country to have not ratified this treaty into law, you would think that such practices would have been thoroughly nipped in the bud. However, this is very much not the case as many countries refuse to enforce this ban despite it being ratified in their own laws.

Recycle Electronics and Scrap Metal

Why Does E-Waste Often End Up in Other Countries?

So it’s possible to export e-waste, though some laws will be broken, but why does it happen anyway? First off, it’s cheaper. It still gets recycled and not just thrown away believe it or not. This is done in part due to lower costs of labor in developing countries, but there is another far worse reason that you should concern yourself with.

One of the easiest ways to “recycle” the metals out of electronics is to burn the electronics. This releases toxins into the air and often into the people doing the recycling, many of which are self-starters trying to scrimp, save, and make money however they can in slums. They burn by their own drinking water and pollute their own land.

Check out this free documentary about the process and how it is affecting Ghana:

How Does E-Recycling in Other Countries Affect Us?

Outside of the human element, there is still a lot at stake here. We are enabling this pollution and pollution anywhere is truly pollution everywhere. We are not just talking about carbon emissions but also other pollutants that will enter the air, enter the soil, and enter the water.

When anyone allows e-waste to be exported to a developing country, we are harming people and we are also harming ourselves. This groundwater and air may not end up in your neighborhood but it can end up in the crops and the animal products that we import. We have one world, and we need to do our part to treat it the right way.

Read More: 3 Ways You Can Reduce Your E-Waste as a Company

Does Sadoff’s E-Waste Get Recycled in the U.S.?

When you count on Sadoff to handle your e-recycling and data destruction, you can rest assured that we do not export any of our e-waste. All of it gets safely e-recycled right here in the U.S. and it’s e-recycled properly meaning none of the toxic materials will enter the air, soil, or water. We follow the most stringent guidelines and you can be assured of that because of our R2V3 certification. If you have any questions on what we can do for you, how we process our materials, or if you want a quote for your e-recycling job, please reach out to us today!


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