August 4, 2010

Work Still Needed on Europe’s Efforts to Control Electronic Waste Exports

Filed under: Europe, seaports — Tags: — inece @ 2:47 pm

BBC News reports that old televisions and computers containing hazardous substances are still being exported from Europe despite a ban aimed at stopping the trade.

In Europe, some countries have a better record than others in applying the directive and trying to stop illegal exports, with southern EU states lagging behind.

But even where officials try to enforce the rules, there are challenges. These include distinguishing between second-hand goods – which are legal to export – and e-waste, and the fact that collection and recycling targets are out of line with the growing amount of electronics generated.

“We have 27 European member states but there are more than 100 collection systems and every system has another weak spot,” says Mr Huijbregts.

There are plenty of opportunities for the brokers involved in illegal e-waste trafficking to siphon off e-waste.


Beyond tightening controls within the EU, campaigners point to the need to ensure second-hand electronics sent to developing countries for charity are disposed of correctly.

And they flag up broader challenges – getting electronics companies to design greener products and weaning consumers off their electronics habit.

“You have to do everything you can to enforce the laws you have in place and make people pay the costs of what they’re doing,” says Mr Puckett. “And that ultimately is a really good thing as it drives greener production.”


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