Industry Lobbying to Exempt ‘E-Waste’ Exports Drawing Fire PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsey Drysdale   
Friday, 03 May 2013 10:46

GENEVA – Computer and other electronic equipment manufacturers pressing for exemptions from established controls on the export of electronic waste or e-waste are drawing fire from NGOs.

Basel Action Network says relaxing such controls could undermine efforts to properly dispose of toxic materials in the least harmful way possible.

The proposed exemptions would permit untested or nonfunctional electronic waste, often containing toxic lead, cadmium, mercury and brominated flame retardants, to be considered a non-waste and subject to free trade in certain circumstances, so long as the exporter can claim the old equipment might be “repairable,” asserts BAN.

Basel Action Network said it would condemn the latest industry move today at the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention. BAN argues this latest industry effort would undercut the Ban Amendment, an international agreement that forbids the export of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries.

The Information Technology Industry Council is spearheading the latest effort to redefine Basel definitions, including Dell, HP, Sony, Samsung, LG and Apple, says BAN.

Recyclers in the US and Europe are concerned about these exemptions because their investments in businesses to dismantle or shred e-waste will be undermined once it becomes legal to export whole junk equipment without properly processing them, says BAN.

 

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