Today on NPR, Terry Gross was talking to Jim Puckett, the executive director of the Basal Action Network, which monitors electronic waste around the world. By the end of the car ride to the store, I was practically in tears. Puckett described horrible working conditions in recycling slums for women and children (mainly orphans) in third world countries. As consumers, we all have a hand in the mess!
Please read (or listen to) the article to learn more about the industrialized world’s bad habit of shipping e-waste to third world countries. Obviously, this isn’t new information, but Puckett pointed out that many recyclers that claim to be “green” are helping to destroy whole regions of China, India and Africa. So, even when we think we’re doing the right thing, we actually may be devastating other people and places.
So for our New Year’s resolution, we’re renewing and stepping up our efforts to make sure that all of the materials that we recycle go to recyclers that actually handle these hazardous materials in the United States in a responsible manner. Basal Action Network makes following the recycling trail a little easier. They watchdog the industry and certify recyclers that are doing this right, so we’re going to us them as a guide to ensuring that our company sends hazardous materials to the most responsible recycling companies.
We’ve always recycled, but now we’re going to aggressively pursue a complete understanding of where our hazardous materials are going. Will you pledge to do the same? If you need help, please call us and we’ll provide any resources that we can.
One piece of good news: All current Apple products receive a Gold rating from EPEAT which means they satisfy a bunch of criteria and they’re basically cleaner to begin with, making them less hazardous at the end of the device’s life cycle.
Just one more advantage of being a Mac user!
Great to see we have an e-steward recycler in Sparks. Thanks for the great information, Alicia.
Thank you for 1) being aware that e-waste is a major problem and 2) for being more informed about the process so we can all make better decisions on recycling our tech gadgets. This is another reason I support a local business, in this case Mac-O-Rama 🙂
Thanks so much for spotlighting this horrible problem. I’ve shared it with a large community of martial arts activists.