Investigation Reveals Where Our E-Waste Ends Up and It Ain’t Good

People in front of a pile of e-waste. (photo: Discard Studies)
People in front of a pile of e-waste. (photo: Discard Studies)


Katie Herzog | Grist | Reader Supported News | May 14, 2016


ou probably know better than to dump your old electronics in the trash. TVs, printers, and laptops are full of harmful materials like arsenic, lead, and mercury — and when left in landfills, these toxins can leach into nearby land and water. Campaigns to recycle instead of trash have alerted the public to the dangers of e-waste, and so instead of throwing those old TVs in the dumpster behind the local elementary school, we donate them to e-waste recyclers or non-profits like Goodwill. And we donate a lot: About 50,000 dump trucks’ worth of electronics are sent to American recyclers each year.

But what happens to our old devices after we drop them off?

The Basel Action Network, a Seattle-based watchdog group, partnered with MIT to insert 200 GPS tracking devices in old computers, TVs, and printers. They dropped the goods off at donation centers and recyclers that advertise environmental responsibility, including Goodwill, and waited to see where those products actually ended up.

Read more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s