The waste industry has welcomed the Environmental Investigation Agency’s (EIA) report into the shipment of e-waste to developing countries.
The report, which was accompanied by a BBC Panorama programme entitled Track My Trash, called on the Government to launch a full review of producer compliance schemes (PCS).
An Environment Agency spokesman said: “It is illegal to export hazardous electrical waste to developing countries, as it has the potential to harm people and the environment if not disposed of properly.
“The Environment Agency is a world leader in tackling illegal waste exports and has 22 ongoing investigations into criminal activity of this sort. But it is not possible to inspect every ship or container that leaves UK shores, and councils or businesses must play their part by checking that their contractors are handling e-waste responsibly.”
Environmental Services Association director of policy Matthew Farrow described illegal e-waste exports as a “stain” on the UK’s environmental record, he said: “The ESA and its members expect the environmental and law enforcement agencies to crack down on all illegal waste activity. Much tougher court sanctions on those who deliberately flout the law would be a good start.”
Computer Aid International director of marketing and communications Anja Ffrench welcomed the report. She said: “The report describes us as a ‘wholly legitimate’ organisation which ensures the ‘compliant exports of secondhand electronics’.
“Computer Aid uses SWEEEP, the recycling company highlighted by Panorama as an example of good practice, to recycle any equipment donated to us that doesn’t meet our minimum specifications or is faulty. SWEEEP guarantee that 0% of the equipment ends up in landfill.
“Unwanted computers are an integral part of the UK’s e-waste problem, however, the majority of PCs sent for recycling have at least three to four years’ further life in them.”