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Electronic Waste

Discarded electronic devices, assemblies, sub-assemblies, components, and substances involved in their manufacture or use. E-Waste is exported to lesser-developed low wage nations such as China, India and parts of Africa due to mediocre or non-existent environmental standards and working safety laws. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, millions of tons of electronic waste is gathered and exported annually to these regions. Only a small percentage of the waste collected is recycled. The balance of this material is exported overseas to “dismantling shops” where precious metals and electronic components are extracted for resale. This continuous supply of material is fueling the counterfeit market. International treaties are supposed to prohibit and deter the exportation of obsolete computer hardware from developed to developing countries; however, there are loopholes in the system. The waste that is sent to these regions for processing is done so illegally by transporting the goods through alternate ports, disguised as charitable donations or is done despite international laws and with lack of controls. It is well known that China is the largest recipient of E-Waste and that they have found more than one way to profit from global waste disposal. In certain regions of China, entire communities rely on E-Waste and counterfeit component trade as a source of revenue. (Also see ERAI Special Report Titled: A TIME FOR CHANGE)