The Chartered Institute of Wastes Management has called on local authorities and businesses that are involved in collecting electronic equipment to maintain a regular check on where the waste is going.
Responding to the Sky News report which focused on unworkable waste electrical and electronic equipment going to Nigeria, CIWM chair Steve Lee said: The UK needs to support the responsible reuse of discarded products that are in good working order and have a real value to others. However, we must behave responsibly to ensure that we are never guilty of exporting inappropriate goods and material to other countries.
Lee has called on local authorities to regularly check where e-waste is going. He said: They have a clear responsibility to do so under the Duty of Care regulations and as a sector, it is essential that we work together to maintain public confidence in recycling.
An Environment Agency spokeswoman added: The EA supports legitimate charities giving perfectly good working electrical items to less developed countries. But we recognise that some electrical waste is being illegally sent overseas to be broken up for parts.
In the last nine months the EA has created a new National Environmental Crime Team to tackle all types of environmental crime including illegal e-waste exports. We aim to take out the key illegal operators and currently have a large investigation running into illegal e-waste exports from the UK to Africa which involves over a dozen operators and several large exporters in the e-waste sector.
Lee welcomes the new development from the EA but has called on the Government to ensure that there is sufficient funding for the UKs enforcement bodies to ensure that they can effectively tackle these complex issues.