You may think you're doing a good deed when you bring your old computer and electronics to an Earth Day drop off point, but if you don't check out the organization you are giving it to, you may just be adding more waste. Some companies ship the old equipment to other countries, where they are torn apart or burnt to get at the precious metals inside.
"It is being recycled, but it's being recycled in the most horrific way you can imagine," said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, the Seattle-based environmental group that tipped off Hong Kong authorities. "We're preserving our own environment, but contaminating the rest of the world."
Many activists believe the answer lies in requiring electronics makers to take back and recycle their own products. Such laws would encourage manufacturers to make products that are easier to recycle and contain fewer dangerous chemicals, they say.
Fortunately, Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Sony take back their own products at no charge. It's not very easy to find out how, though. But here's the link to the Dell product recycling program.
Jim sounds like a character, here's what he said about the companies that aren't considering the environment in their recycling efforts: "Reuse is the new excuse. It's the new passport to export."