E-waste and Counterfeiting

Since last year, the Basel Action Network (BAN) has been continuously working on an e-Trash Transparency Project. It found that recycling companies in the US continue to export hazardous e-trash to Asia. Their latest data reveal 16 more instances of exports to developing countries involving 7 companies, most of which make public claims of never allowing the electronics they process to be exported. The wastes reported this time included printers and LCD screens containing toxic mercury, which were sent to Hong Kong (75%), mainland China, and the Philippines.

Investigators from BAN report that the New Territories of Hong Kong contain hundreds of e-waste junkyards. Workers are directly exposed to toxins by disassembling hazardous equipment by hand. Refurbishment of the e-waste is just the initial treatment of the industrial chain. When refurbishment is not the option, different components that are not able to be refurbished are delivered to the mainland China for extracting the valuable metal out of e-waste.

Once the electronics waste arrives in Asia, criminals often strip useful parts from it and install them in counterfeit electronic devices. In reality, export of hazardous electronics wastes to Asia is not prohibited by the US law. But it does violate international laws (Basel Convention) and the laws of the importing countries. We see a serious problem for original manufacturers in the electronics industry in this practice, and will further investigate this international counterfeiting pattern.

Source: Basel Action Network

Picture: hk01.com

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