Skip to main content

Fake Recyclers Profit Off E-Waste

Recycling your electronic waste is a noble idea, but here's the dirty little secret: even if you drop off your old electronics for recycling, it may never get recycled.

As OSNews' Howard Fosdick describes some people fall victim to a scam called "fake recycling," and just describing it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Fake recyclers are organizations that approach well-meaning community groups like the Boy Scouts or the Make-a-Wish Foundation to help run a local "Recycling Day." The idea is that people from the community will bring in their old electronics to the legitimate organization's Recycling Day event. The fake recycler will then haul that e-waste away, and export it to another country with lax environmental regulations.

What's in it for them? According to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, "Recyclers can make more money by exporting than they can by actually responsibly recycling. This is particularly true for recyclers who are collecting televisions, because it costs money to properly recycle old televisions. But they can get paid for exporting them."

This story from the Basel Action Network details how Cartoosa, OK-based company, EarthEcycle allegedly conned the Humane Society and several other groups into running a "Recycle Day" Event, and then exported the goods to Hong Kong and South Africa. Last year, the EPA filed charges (download EarthECycle complaint) against the company for violating at least seven federal hazardous waste management regulation.

The EPA found other companies located in the state of Washington and Texas as well as in New Jersey illegally disposing of electronic waste.

Most people have never heard of a fake recycling organization like EarthEcycle, but plenty of people know all about the Boy Scouts or the Make-a-Wish Foundation. And that's exactly why fake recycler organizations need the help of legitimate groups, which lend the good name and publicity to the event.

The crazy thing is that none of this is illegal, but it's definitely destroying the environment. Here are a few tips from Electronics Takeback Coalition to keep a lookout for fake recyclers to make sure that you (or a group you represent) don't get scammed.

First off, remember that responsibly recycling an item is not free, especially when it comes to electronics. If it's not you forking over the cash to recycle an old computer, find out who is. Some electronics companies now take your old electronics back when you buy a new one, as are some state and local governments.

If you really want to do right by the environment, seek out an e-waste recycler on your own. You can find plenty of them on e-Stewards. There are also eclectic groups like FreeGeek Chicago that refurbish your old computers for people who can't afford their own.

Both of those options sound a lot better than letting your old computer sink into a landfill.

http://news.discovery.com/tech/fake-recyclers-profit-off-e-waste.html
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bottled Water Carries Hidden Cost to Earth

Good for You, Bad for Mother Earth? | $1.79 might seem like a small price to pay for a bottle of water. But it costs the Earth far more than that.

Compared to a liter of tap water, producing a liter of bottled water requires as much as 2,000 times more energy, according to the first analysis of its kind. The study also found that our nation's bottled water habit sucked up the equivalent of 32 to 54 million barrels of oil last year.

"The bottom line is that we should understand better the implications of our choices," said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, Calif. "It suggests more ways to reduce energy use than maybe we otherwise think of."

Bottled water is a big business that is rapidly getting bigger. From 1976 to 2007, the average amount of bottled water drunk per person per year in the United States jumped from about 6 liters (1.6 gallons) to 116 liters (30.6 gallons).

In 2007, …

HOW AIR POLLUTION HARMS YOUR BODY

HOW AIR POLLUTION HARMS YOUR BODY  DOWNLOAD BROCHURE
Air pollution can cause serious health problems. Rarely, it can even kill people — and we’re not exaggerating. That’s why we care so much about the laws that protect us from air pollution. Read on to learn more about the specific parts of our bodies that are affected by air pollution. Air pollution can be made of tiny particles or gases, and these get into your body when you breathe. Different types of air pollution do different things inside your body. Air pollution can directly irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, before it even gets into the lungs. It can cause runny nose, itchy eyes, and scratchy throat. LUNGS When you breathe in, air moves through your nose or mouth, down your throat into your trachea, and then into your lungs. Pollution can irritate the airways. When that happens, muscles around the bronchi get tight; the lining of the bronchi swell; and the bronchi produce excess mucous. When the airways are constricted, it b…