ELEMETAL RECYCLING IS HELPING STOP THE BLACK MARKET OF ELECTRONICS DISPOSAL
Dumping of electronic waste (E-waste) is now likened to dumping of radioactive waste. This is because electronic waste is now being disposed in under-developed countries. However, this is illegal. About 90 percent of electronics used by developed countries end up in Africa and Asia (where recycling is seen as a big business) without any consideration about its effects. The innovation in technology is rapid, and this is leading to release of new models of electronic devices yearly.
Fortunately, there are businesses out there that are aware of the problem and striving to fix it. Elemetal Recycling, for example, has responsibly and successfully recycled 42 million pounds of assorted electronic material, while their subsidiary company, Alpha Omega, has processed over 300 million pounds of industrial waste, recovering millions of pounds of precious and non-precious metals. Tommy McGuire, VP of Elemetal Recycling, states: “As the technology industry grows exponentially, so does the need for innovation for the disposition and management of electronics…Recycling helps allocate these commodities towards another purpose in a world with limited resources.”
As new gadgets are released into the market, the old or outdated ones are sent to other less- developed countries to be sold for considerable profit. EU countries dispose approximately 9 million tons of E-waste every year, with Britain boasting an estimated 1.5 million. Most electronics marked for recycling are illegally exported to developing countries. The EU, in a bid to end this illegal dumping, passed a law that prohibits the export of anything outdated or spoiled to developing countries. African countries like Ghana and Nigeria are the usual target for illegal traders of used electronics.
Recycling of electronic waste is an expensive venture for most companies, because a lot of the components used are hazardous and toxic to the environment. E-waste contains metals such as lead, mercury and a host of other chemicals that can seriously damage our nervous system. Now, instead of lining them up to be recycled, most disposal companies simply sell them to traders who them ship them off to less developed countries. Some companies that are paid to recycle electronic waste don’t even comply with the contract; instead of recycling, they ship them out in containers to Africa and Asia.
According to a report released by the United Nations Environment Program, approximately 40 million metric tons of E-waste is produced in the world yearly. In the United States alone, over 100,000 computers are thrown out every year, and this number does not show any sign of slowing down. Half the computers disposed in the UK are illegally shipped out. Geneva’s Labor Organization reported that 80 percent of E-waste bound for recycling in developed countries always ends up in less developed countries like China and Nigeria. This is devastating and unnecessary, as companies like Elemetal Recycling in Texas are dedicated to providing affordable recycling solutions for companies, helping to preserve the environment and eradicate the problem of illegal disposal of e-waste.
Rare metals such as gold and silver can be recovered from electronic waste if they are recycled properly. So, despite the fact that recycling is expensive, most of these companies still make a reasonable profit from selling these rare metals. But it is quite tempting for these companies not to sell, as black market traders of used electronics are always poaching them for electronics meant to be recycled.
Efforts have been made by the British Government to curb these illegal acts in recent years. This act in itself is wrong, because it affects people and in one way or another still comes back to affect us too. Young children are often employed to break down this electronic waste in countries where they are shipped off to. These children would likely become victims of diseases caused by chemical in the devices. Solving the problems caused by illegal dumping of E-waste is a great challenge, because the E-waste trade would always flourish as a large population of people in these target countries still live in abject poverty.
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