January 18, 2018. Seattle, WA. - Following their 2016 exposé entitled "Scam Recycling" which employed 205 GPS tracking devices placed inside electronic waste to find out what happens to it, the Basel Action Network (BAN) has released the latest findings using GPS tracking in a short 18-page report. Their most recent data reveals 6 more instances of exports to developing countries involving 6 new companies, as well as the City of Houston. Most of these companies make public claims on their websites of never allowing the electronics they process to be exported to developing countries. Further, four of the companies are Certified to R2 which stands for Responsible Recycling.
"Our GPS tracking devices continue to serve as lie detectors for an industry that far too often lives a lie, cloaking themselves in green and using the word "recycling" as a shameful shield," said BAN director Jim Puckett.
e-Wastes that are exported to developing countries most often end up being smashed, burned or treated with dangerous chemicals. Desperate migrant workers, unaware of the hazards, are exposed to harmful chemicals such as mercury and lead as they break apart the old computers, printers, and monitors. Wastes that cannot be readily recycled are dumped in waysides and fields. Such were the conditions BAN found in November of last year in Hong Kong's New Territories where most of the trackers ended up. The companies implicated in this latest update of BAN's e-Trash Transparency Project are:
e-Tech Management (Houston, Texas)
R.A.K.I. Electronics Recycling (Houston, Texas) (Collected by City of Houston)
Advanced Technology Recycling (San Antonio, Texas)
ARC Broward IT Asset Recovery (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
SEER (Tampa, Florida)
Allied Ecovery (Toccoa, Georgia)
The hazardous e-waste exports reported this time included 4 printers and 2 LCD monitors laden with toxic mercury. These were sent to Hong Kong, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Exportation of these hazardous electronics wastes to Asian countries does not violate US law but does violate international law (Basel Convention) and the laws of the importing countries. The exports also often violate the companies' own stated policies, standards and certifications declared on their websites making these companies vulnerable to fraud charges.
Despite the lack of national legislation forbidding most hazardous waste exportation, BAN's past citizen enforcement activities have so far resulted in one federal criminal conviction (Executive Recycling, Denver, CO), and four ongoing criminal investigations or indictments (Total Reclaim, Seattle, WA; Diversified Recycling, Norcross, GA; Intercon Solutions, Chicago Heights, IL; and Stone Castle Recycling, Utah), all for fraudulent or illegal exports of e-waste.
As a solution to the problem of widespread electronic recycling fraud, BAN has created the e-Stewards Certification. This Certification for ethical recyclers is an alternative to the more easily attained R2 Certification which allows exports even when they are likely to be illegal in importing countries. BAN has begun to use GPS tracking devices routinely in their e-Stewards verification program to better assure program integrity. Of the 6 companies involved in this latest report, 4 were R2 certified and 2 were uncertified.
"We urge businesses and consumers alike, to do their part to prevent harmful global dumping and make exclusive use of e-Steward Certified Recyclers. These are the only recyclers that are part of a program that will not export hazardous e-wastes to developing countries," said Puckett.
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For more information contact:
Jim Puckett, Executive Director of Basel Action Network,
About Basel Action Network
Founded in 1997, the Basel Action Network is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, WA. BAN is the world's only organization focused on confronting the global environmental justice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts. Today, BAN serves as the information clearinghouse on the subject of waste trade for journalists, academics, and the general public. Through its investigations, BAN uncovered the tragedy of hazardous electronic waste dumping in developing countries. For more information, see www.BAN.org or blog.BAN.org.