There have been news stories about potential food contamination in Africa that could be a result of toxins from illegally exported e-waste entering the food production cycle.
This is a worrying criminal activity and completely goes against the Basel Convention which is the agreement governing how hazardous waste is exported internationally. In response to these stories please see the following statement from Susanne Baker, Head of Environment and Compliance at techUK.
"Waste crime impacts all elements of the waste system and e-waste is no exception.
We support BAN’s efforts to identify illegal exports of e-waste. It is simply not right that products that the public think will be responsibly recycled, via a system paid for by producers of those products, is later found to be illegally exported, circumventing the system entirely.
We are committed to work with government in its review of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regime, as announced in the Government’s recent Resources and Waste Strategy, to consider what more can be done to address illegal activity such as this.
For example, we would support tighter regulation of exporters – as being proposed in the government’s current review of the packaging waste regime - and greater scrutiny of the sites that exporters claim to be shipping waste to, to ensure that those facilities are fit to handle e-waste.
In the meantime, we would encourage people to continue to recycle their electronics via their local council recycling site or via take back from reputable retailers, where available."