Waste More, Want More: The Adage of the Age of Electronics

written by Elise Miller, MEd
Director 

NOTE: While CHE primarily highlights emerging environmental health science, we also occasionally bring attention to how this new research is being applied (or not) to decision-making in the marketplace and regulatory policies. 

Every day new mountains are being born—not because of shifting plate tectonics but due to electronic waste, the fastest growing source of waste in the world. This is not news to most people, but what may be surprising is that many of the old computers and phones you thought you were being responsibly recycled are actually being shipped thousands of miles overseas. This is according Basel Action Network, which partnered with MIT to put geo-tracking devices in old electronics to see where they actually ended up. In their investigation, reported Monday, it was found that almost a third of old electronics taken in by even a couple of the most reputable electronic recycling companies in the US went to other countries—despite these companies stating explicitly that they did not allow this practice.

Continue reading