Computer reuse charity Computer Aid has published a guide to help businesses dispose of their IT waste properly.
The flow of toxic waste out of the UK, Europe and the US continues to grow, with computers and other IT ending up dumped in developing countries such as Nigeria and India, where toxic materials used in the manufacture of technology leak into the soil and cause serious environmental and health hazards. Governments and organisations such as Greenpeace have been battling the problem for years, but it continues to get worse as technology consumption grows.
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The free guide, which is available to download, explains what businesses need to do to make sure they are not passing on their old IT equipment to fraudulent e-waste traders posing as legitimate recycling companies.
Thousands of containers of e-waste leave the UK every month, and the businesses which provide these rogue traders with broken IT are breaking the law. Computer Aid says learning how to make sure old IT goes to the right people protects brand reputation and ensures legal compliance.
Computer Aid CEO Tony Roberts said, "UK companies are unwittingly handing over their unwanted IT equipment to unscrupulous illegal traders who are shipping untested and unwiped e-waste, for profit, to developing countries. Companies can easily help put a stop to this toxic trade by asking some simple questions of IT disposal organisations to guarantee they select a reputable partner."
The Environment Agency says companies need to be much more suspicious of their recycling contractors. Advisor Adrian Harding said, "It is not feasible for us to check every single container that leaves the UK, so a big part of the solution to illegal export of waste electrical equipment lies in every organisation taking greater interest in what is happening to their used equipment. Don't just rely on assurances from the contractor - look for evidence and audit your arrangements."