One of the hidden dangers of e-waste is something all too common in the ITAD & Lifecycle Services industry: the export of e-waste to developing countries.
Procurri operates all its ITAD & Lifecycle Services processing in secure facilities in countries within which it already operates. We never export any hardware to a developing county and the only instance whereby we transfer assets to another organization is if we are unable to find recycling or refurbishment value within. In this situation, hardware is transferred to a secure and Procurri-approved ITAD & Lifecycle Services disposal partner who processes equipment ethically and safely. The Procurri downstream chain is entirely transparent with further details available upon request.
Unethical ITAD & Lifecycle Services providers find it easier and cheaper to export their e-waste to developing nations for it to be processed there rather than to manage it themselves to high legal standards in the country within which they operate. The costs of loading e-waste onto a container ship for a long-haul journey to Africa or Asia are often considerably less than the thorough and proper recycling of it to internationally recognized standards. However, of course, these standards are in place to protect people and the environment – and this is compromised when it’s exported elsewhere without clear sight of how the ITAD & Lifecycle Services procedures will be managed (if, indeed, they are at all).
Although guidance varies between territories, it is not technically illegal to export e-waste elsewhere in most of the world. Nonetheless, it is unethical. Where developing nations do not have sufficient facilities to process ITAD & Lifecycle Services in a safe and responsible manner, it is likely to be dumped, and consequently, pollute the environment around it and put the people and place in a hazardous situation.
Sadly, some unscrupulous brokers around the world are willing to pay upfront for the delivery of e-waste in order to resell it for the recovery of the metals within; which are often recovered using dangerous and hazardous processes. The United Nations are even quoted as saying “Using primitive techniques, workers extract valuable metals from computers, large appliances, lights, televisions, and batteries, often with little protective equipment. Children are often used because their small hands are ideal for handling and dismantling small parts. To separate valuable metal from computers, phones, and other electronic devices, acid is poured on circuit boards and plastic-coated wires are burned, releasing lead, mercury, copper, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, PCBs, PBDEs, and other flame retardants into the environment and directly exposing young workers to highly toxic substances which can produce adverse neurodevelopmental impacts even at low exposure levels”.
The routine export of e-waste by ITAD & Lifecycle Servicescompanies remains prevalent and it is for this reason that businesses must make responsible and ethically informed decisions in who they choose to partner with within this space. Procurri maintains a transparent supply chain with no unethical or unsustainable e-waste exportation – a true assurance for accountable and trustworthy businesses who wish to deal with their ITAD & Lifecycle Services in the healthiest and most sustainable means possible.