In an earlier post, we talked about the value of ewaste certifications and how they often contain too many loopholes to be of much use when it comes to gauging a company’s total commitment to ewaste recycling services. There are a lot of issues plaguing the recycling industry across the board — the value of many recyclables (especially glass) is dropping, leading to municipalities like our own here in Greater Greenville to drop glass entirely from their regular recycling pickups or to start outright charging for the service, as Best Buy recently had to do with their own ewaste takeback program.
Unfortunately, there’s yet another issue plaguing many ewaste recyclers. That issue is the problems with maintaining a strict “no-export policy”
What Does “No-Export” Policy Mean?
Essentially, it’s a sign that a company has their heart in the right place. Dell, for instance, has maintained a no-export policy on the ewaste received from its own in-house recycling program since the beginning. Much of the “recycled ewaste” just finds its way overseas to languish in global landfills, or turn into “electronic graveyards” where people scratch out a living by burning the plastic in order to get at the valuable minerals inside. This leads to both serious health problems for those living in and around the graveyards, and also for the larger population, as these fires and the burning of plastics and toxic materials inside electronic leads to massive pollution over a larger area.
A no-export policy is a way that a company can combat being a part of this problem. The ewaste recycling companies that Dell works with, for example, should be held to a standard of not exporting electronic waste to any other countries, and instead maintaining recycling operations within the United States.
Unfortunately, Dell recently discovered that that’s not what has been happening.
A new report recently released goes into far more detail, but the gist of the matter is this — the Basel Action Network (or BAN) became curious as to what was happening to devices recycled through the joint Dell/Goodwill program. They placed tracking devices inside about 200 flat-screen TVs, CRT monitors, and computer printers. The trackers were visible inside the electronics and contained instructions for contacting BAN if they were found. This way, BAN could be reasonably certain that the trackers remained inside whole electronics that had not yet been broken down.
After that, they tracked the movements of these devices from the Goodwill stores they were originally dropped off at across the world.
What Did the Trackers Find?
Devices went as far as mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even Thailand. Every one of these exports is illegal under current law, and goes directly against Dell’s very clear and consistent no-export policy. The results of this report are incredibly disappointing — but this doesn’t mean Dell is directly to blame.
The changes in the recycling industry we mentioned earlier have included a huge drop in the value of recycled materials, and CRT monitors, printers, and flat-screen TVs are difficult or impossible to make a profit on right now. The third-party ewaste recyclers that Dell partners with, without enough financial support from Dell itself to cover their monetary losses on these items, are finding it harder and harder to operate without either skirting the law or outright breaking it.
Finding an ewaste recycling company that maintains high ethical standards can feel like a challenge.That’s why we feel it’s important our clients get to know us personally and know they are welcome at our facility to see exactly what it is we do.
Electronic Asset Recycling is Here to Help
At EARecycling, we work hard to remain transparent in our efforts to make the world a greener place by recycling electronics of all kinds. With our safe, legal recycling services, you’ll be able to protect your downstream liability, safeguard your company’s data security, and even have your hard drives shredded when you’re looking for total data destruction. For more information on our services or to request a pickup, give us a call at (800) 746-1823 or just click the banner below.