Christian Beaudrie’s article Control-Act-Delete: Our Electronics don’t have to land in an African slum was published in the July 2014 Alternatives Journal, and can be accessed here. In this article Christian discusses how “with an ever-expanding market for electronic goods and continually shrinking product lifecycles, managing e-waste has become a global problem.” Christian gives Agbogbloshie, Ghana as an example where “e-waste is gold.” Workers extract precious metals from e-waste by using open-pit burning and acid baths, whereby “workers are exposed to a toxic mix of heavy metals, brominated flameretardants and a particularly carcinogenic class of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.” Needless to say, this is not healthy for the e-waste collectors, or for the environment.
While the Electronics Product Stewardship Canada organization recycles electronics safely in Canada, approximately 85% of provincial e-waste is falling through the cracks. The most common barriers to recycling e-waste “were reported to be a lack of information on proper disposal, inconvenience and a scarcity of drop-off locations.” And even though we may think we are recycling our e-waste, if we are not utilizing an EPSC-sanctioned recycling program, our e-waste may still end up being shipped overseas!
Please think twice when recycling your e-waste by utilizing the dropoff locations listed at recyclemyelectronics.ca. It’s an easy to use site that allows you to put in your postal code and find the nearest recycling depot to your location.