Don’t trust your e-waste recycler

I’ve got two monitors and a tower that I’m waiting to recycle. So I hand them over to the e-waste recycler and I feel so green. I know my former computers, now e-waste, will be handled responsibly. Not so fast.

CBC ran a story on the destination and handling of e-waste. Not so good. Lots of it ends up illegally in China, where the e-waste is taken to remote villages, and away from any central authorities who might curtail the activity (see this clip for the struggles in regulating any of this). It is dismantled under dangerous conditions and causes terrible land, air and (especially) water pollution. All of this is happening after the big expose that The Basel Action Network and CBC did in 2001 about the practice with the Canadian federal government (oh, but the Canadian government has promised to remedy this in 2010)!

The CBC also exposed a couple of bad practices recyclers in BC. Verdict? The companies sound good on paper but the e-waste still gets sent to China. CBC then covered a best practices recycler, Barrie Metals Group and Global Electric Electronic Processing, Inc.. Very cool, although they point out that recycling in the West costs a lot more. I wonder, are we willing to pay the price for extra environmental regulations and higher labour costs?

BTW, if you want to find a good recycler, the Basel Action Network checks out e-waste recyclers. For us, it’s

Redemtech Montreal
1615, 55e/th Avenue
Dorval, (QC) Canada H9P 2W3
Tel: 514.636.9625
Toll: 888.326.7972
Fax: 514.636.3131

One Response to “Don’t trust your e-waste recycler”

  1. patagonia says:

    Thats wild. I read a similar article last summer about a free lance reporter travelling in China; he had to bribe a taxi driver to admit to him that there was infact these ‘cities’ and to take him there. He had some disturbing pictures of former rural cities that were now just e-junk yards with ‘civilians’ picking through to find reusable parts. I will try and find hte article for next class. What I find most troubling is how well hidden this issue was, or is, for many. It makes one wonder what you can trust and all that you dont know about.