E-scrap Bust in China Has U.S. Connections

Officials in China have discovered nearly 80,000 tons of e-scrap illegally imported from Europe, Japan and the U.S.

A Jan. 5 raid by more than 500 police officers in China resulted in the discovery and led to the arrests of alleged 54 gang members who helped orchestrate the smuggling. According to custom officials, the material had made its way from Europe, Japan and the U.S. “since 2013.”

The find is being called the largest bust of illegal e-scrap in the country’s history.

The issue of exporting used electronics has become an increasingly thorny subject in the U.S. A recent U.N. report suggested a mere 27,000 tons of e-scrap were exported by the U.S. in 2010, but that estimate was heavily criticized by the Basel Action Network and others.

Both the e-Stewards and R2 certifications require members to process electronics domestically and refrain from actions that could lead to “dumping” of toxic electronics and parts in developing countries.