Household Ewaste Collection on International Ewaste Day

Posted Thursday 10 Oct 2019 16:11 PM

Monday 14th October marks the second International E-waste Day. Introduced last year by WEEE Forum – an International Association of Electronic Waste Producer Responsibility Organisations – the International E-waste day seeks to bring attention to the vast amounts of electrical and electronic equipment going to waste.

Even though 66% of the world’s population is covered by e-waste legislation, only one-fifth of e-waste generated worldwide is recycled. That leaves 40 million tonnes of e-waste going to landfill or being treated in sub-standard ways. This may lead to environmental issues, including such hazards as air, water and land contamination. This may further contaminate the food chain, posing serious health risks to the local communities.

To play our part in reducing waste, we are opening our doors to the general public on Monday 14th October. We will be accepting no longer wanted household electronics for recycling at our facility. All equipment collected on the date will processed in line with all relevant Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment legislation and best practice guidelines. This means that we will do everything in our power prevent your devices form entering landfill. We will put your equipment through our value chain to ensure that it retains a high-value state. This ensures that the materials are kept circulating in the economy for longer, reducing the need for raw material extraction.

We will be accepting household e-waste drop-offs between 9:00-15:00 on Monday 14th October. You can find us at 249 Govan Road, G51 1HJ Glasgow. Please note the offer is not valid for CRT monitors, refrigerators and fluorescent light tubes. If you wish to dispose of any such equipment, please get in touch with your local council.

More information about the event can be found here.

WEEE Scotland case study featured on Circular Glasgow

Posted Monday 16 Sep 2019 11:47 AM

We are delighted to share that Circular Glasgow have published a case study about WEEE Scotland. The case study briefly outlines our mission to eliminate e-waste by adopting the principles of circular economy. You can read it here.

Circular Glasgow is an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, supported by Zero Waste Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Circle Economy and the University of Strathclyde. Its purpose is to build the city’s circular network by connecting Glasgow-based companies and helping them adopt circular strategies.

The initiative aims to inspire businesses to innovate and improve their financial standing as a result of this transformation. Circular Glasgow advocates transition to circular economy as a way to replace the current ‘take, make, dispose’ linear economy mentality, leading to sustainable outcomes.

Circular Glasgow work towards their mission by raising awareness through events, networking and workshops. The next event on their agenda is the Circular Glasgow Network Launch event in October. More information about this event can be found here.

WEEE Scotland shortlisted in Scottish Resources Awards

Posted Tuesday 10 Sep 2019 11:35 AM

Great news again – WEEE Scotland were shortlisted for the Best Circular Economy Initiative Award at Scottish Resources Awards. The purpose of the awards is to recognise public, private and third sector organisations for their involvement and innovation within resource management.

The awards ceremony is a result of a collaboration between Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The applicants will compete in six categories: Best Circular Economy Initiative Award, Best Food Waste Initiative Award, Innovation Award, Young People Award, Outstanding Contribution Award, and Best Communications and Campaign Award.

The event is set to take place on Wednesday 2nd October at Perth Concert Hall. The awards ceremony is be held on the second day of the Scottish Resources Conference 2019.

Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, Iain Gulland, said: “Scotland is leading the way globally in progress towards a circular economy. The Scottish Resources Conference is the place where lots of the ideas that have led to that progress were developed.

“The resource management sector is vital in realising our ambitions and the programme this year covering policy and innovation across key materials and sectors make the event unmissable.”

Zero Waste Week 2019

Posted Tuesday 03 Sep 2019 12:26 PM

The first week of September marks the twelfth annual Zero Waste Week. During this week, people across the United Kingdom and the rest of the world are being invited to rethink their daily habits to address the issue of growing waste and the challenges it poses in the face of climate change.

The purpose of the Zero Waste Week is to encourage householders, businesses and community groups to increase recycling, reduce non-recyclable landfill waste and participate in the circular economy. Cutting down waste generation and transforming our economy from the current linear ‘take, make, dispose’ model to a circular model is one of the many ways to combat the climate change and prevent its detrimental impact on our environment. Currently, only 48% of waste is recycled or otherwise recovered, with 24% of waste sent to landfill where it can contribute to polluting soil, water and air.

In the official press release Rachelle Strauss, the founder of Zero Waste Week, said: "It’s clear that the Great British Public has a growing concern about the effects of climate change. That’s why I’m delighted to announce that the aim of this year’s campaign is to illustrate how a Zero Waste lifestyle is one of the easiest ways to tackle climate change within your home and business.

“It’s vital that businesses, governments and citizens come together in a bid to call time on the ticking time bomb of climate change. By making Zero Waste Week accessible to all, we can make a huge difference and I look forward to building on the success of previous campaigns.”

This year, the theme of the Zero Waste Week is Reforming Global Warming. The organisers seek to raise awareness about the simple steps we all can take to limit our environmental impact. The newest updates from the Zero Waste Week camp can be found here.

WEEE Scotland shortlisted in Glasgow Business Awards 2019

Posted Friday 30 Aug 2019 12:07 PM

We are thrilled to share some more great news with you. We were shortlisted in three categories in Glasgow Business Awards 2019! In this year’s ceremony, we will compete as a finalist for the Green Champion, Innovation in Business and Sustainable Development awards.

Organised by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, the awards will bring the most innovative, sustainable and inspiring businesses into one room. They will go head to head across 13 categories seeking city-wide recognition of their hard work.

This year’s ceremony is sponsored by an extensive list of partners including Royal Bank of Scotland, Circular Glasgow, and Glasgow City Council just to name a few.

To encourage collaboration and networking, Royal Bank of Scotland is holding a drinks reception three weeks ahead of the awards ceremony. Held on Tuesday 10th September, the reception invites all Glasgow Business Awards finalists to meet each other and make some meaningful connections.

“It is a great pleasure to be among the finalists. Glasgow Business Awards is one of the most anticipated business events of the year”, said WEEE Scotland’s Business Development Director Lyndsay Stewart. “We are very pleased to be shortlisted in three different categories. This is a great encouragement for us to keep up the good work”.

This year will mark the 22nd anniversary of Glasgow Business Awards. The ceremony will take place on Thursday 3rd October in Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Glasgow. The event will be hosted by a returning host Fred MacAulay.

WEEE Scotland shortlisted as finalist in Inspiring City Awards 2019

Posted Tuesday 27 Aug 2019 15:10 PM

We are absolutely delighted to announce that WEEE Scotland were shortlisted among the finalists in Inspiring City Awards 2019. We will be competing against other organisations in two categories for the Environmental Award and the Innovation in Business Award.

Hosted by The Herald and Glasgow City Council, the awards will celebrate the contribution of local people and businesses to the cultural and economic climate of Glasgow. Numerous charities, individual citizens and businesses will compete in thirteen categories to be recognised as key contributors to the life of the city.

This year’s awards boast an impressive list of judges from the industry and the third sector: Donald Martin, Laura Birrell, Richard Muir, Dr Margaret McGuire, David Maxxwell, Evelyn Walker and Carole-Ann McCann.

Inspiring City Awards 2019 are sponsored by Cala Homes (West), Developing Young Workforce Glasgow, Glasgow Airport, Glasgow Caledonian University School for Business and Society, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Volunteer Glasgow, Arnold Clark, Colab, BIG Partnership, and City of Glasgow College.

The winners will be announced during the prestigious award ceremony on Thursday 5th September at the Crowne Plaza Glasgow. Inspiring City Awards will be hosted by BBC television presenters Amy Irons and David Farrell.

WEEE Scotland shortlisted in VIBES Scottish Business Environment Awards

Posted Wednesday 31 Jul 2019 11:38 AM

We’re thrilled to announce that WEEE Scotland has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Service Scotland category in VIBES 2019 Scottish Environment Business Awards. 

The purpose of the awards is to recognise and celebrate sustainable Scottish businesses making a positive impact on the environment, contributing to the local economy and creating social opportunities for the local communities. The awards advocate efficient use of resources, enhance the competitiveness of businesses, improve environmental performance and support the wider goals of sustainable development including social benefits through community and staff involvement. 

The awards are a result of a partnership between Scottish Environment Protection Agency, The Scottish Government, Energy Saving Trust, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Water, Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. 

A large number of entries competed in twelve categories, with 36 businesses successfully shortlisted. In the Service Scotland category, WEEE Scotland will be competing against four other companies based on their commitment to various environmental, economic and social objectives. 

The next stage involves a judging site visit. Three experienced judges will evaluate the finalists and report to the final judging panel. The panel will consist of the SEPA Chairman Bob Downes, the Chair of Scottish Water Lady Susan Rice, and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise chairman Lorne Crerar. 

“We are delighted to be among the finalists at these prestigious awards”, said Gerry Docherty, WEEE Scotland’s Managing Director. “It is a great honour to have our work recognised. We take our environmental and social responsibilities very seriously and we are pleased that our efforts don’t go unnoticed”. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of VIBES Scottish Environment Business Awards. The awards ceremony will take place on Thursday 14th November 2019 in Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Glasgow.

Reports by Committee on Climate Change show insufficient climate change preparation

Posted Friday 12 Jul 2019 13:40 PM

This week, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) released two new reports on climate change preparations and reducing emissions. The reports evaluated the current situation and outlined the steps that need to be taken to adequately prepare for the future challenges.

The reports were released just a month after legally binding legislation was passed to limit the climate impact by instating net-zero emission target in the United Kingdom. The net-zero target is equivalent to reducing the emissions by at least 100% from 1990 levels.

The assessment carried out by the CCC highlighted that the current actions to address emissions reductions and climate change preparations are insufficient. During the previous 12 months, only one of 25 critical policies aimed at reducing emissions were delivered.

Of the 33 sectors evaluated by the CCC, none were adequately prepared for the impact of climate change. Lack of appropriate risk management puts the future businesses and public health at serious risk. Even the minimum level of preparation for risks identified as critical – water flooding and high temperatures impact on health – was not met.

The reports conclude with a loud and clear call for action. The CCC progress reports provide four recommendations for areas of focus. First, the net-zero policy must be embedded across all levels and departments of government. Second, government policies to reduce the UK emissions to net-zero must be business friendly. Third, the public must be fully engaged in the net-zero transition. Ultimately, the UK needs to lead international action to tackle climate change.

WEEE Scotland takes part in LionHeart Challenge

Posted Thursday 20 Jun 2019 12:14 PM

Last Friday, twelve WEEE Scotland employees embarked on a professional development adventure – the LionHeart challenge. First launched in 1999, the LionHeart challenge is an enterprise programme now delivered nationwide. Traditionally delivered to pupils, for the first time in LionHeart history, the challenge was scaled-up to an executive version and delivered in a corporate setting. The aim of the event was to strengthen the team bond while contributing the WEEE Scotland’s future plans. During the day of the event, two teams of six competed against each other in their bid to provide the best solution for future-proofing the business. 

The teams were advised and consulted by three industry experts. Diane Earles, a Chartered Marketer, whose impressive portfolio ranges from the position of Regional Director of The Chartered Institute of Marketing to teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University, shared her expertise by advising the teams on the marketing aspect of the challenge. Financial planning was facilitated by Andrew Whittaker, the Chartered Management Accountant at Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, with an abundance of experience in industry, commerce and the Civil Service. Roger McCartney, the Chartered Marketer and Regional Manager at Chartered Management Institute, shared his extensive knowledge and experience in people management. 

The judge panel consisted of WEEE Scotland’s senior management – Gerry Docherty, who is the company’s Managing Director, and Lyndsay Stewart, who is the company’s Business Development Director. The judges evaluated the teams on their business concept, marketing plan, financial plan, human resources solution, efficiency and teamwork. 

After an action-packed day filled with intellectually stimulating tasks, the teams were up to present their respective business proposals. Among the ideas discussed were a retail shop, repair café, new accreditation, as well as niche and emerging markets. 

Our Business Development Manager Katrina McKenzie shared her experience of the day: “It was such an honour to be a part of the LionHeart challenge, especially the first event rolled out to a corporate company. I can easily see how it would benefit companies and develop the opportunities and skill levels of their colleagues. I want to say a massive thank you again for the opportunity to be a part of this very unique challenge and it will definitely be an experience I’ll never forget”.

See the most memorable moments of the event here.

WEEE Scotland at Low Carbon Scotland conference

Posted Tuesday 04 Jun 2019 10:32 AM

Today WEEE Scotland representatives are visiting Low Carbon Scotland conference in Edinburgh. Taking place in Dynamic Earth, an outstanding cutting-edge environmentally minded venue, the conference is dedicated to exploring the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.

As silver partners of the conference, we at WEEE Scotland are supporting the event in our mission to enable and empower the transition to zero carbon economy in Scotland. Through raising awareness among the industry business leaders, we aim to accelerate the change and play a key role in decarbonising our economy.

Organised by 3ppp (Private-Public-Partnerships) and Low Carbon Club, the conference will cover a range of topics, including Climate Change Plan 2017-2032, cities, mobility, heat and energy systems, infrastructure, finance and funding, internet of things, and assets, estates and facilities.

The speakers programme contains an impressive list of industry leaders and government decision makers. Among the speakers are the Scottish Government MSP Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, and Alan Asbury, the chairman of the Low Carbon Club, along with along list of other influential figures with substantial track record in sustainability and environmental services.

“We are absolutely delighted to be supporting this conference. It is an opportunity to show the importance of addressing environmental issues promptly and appropriately,” said WEEE Scotland’s Recycling & Compliance Director Lyndsay Stewart. “Transitioning to zero carbon is essential if we are to maintain our environment. We are here today to partner up with other environmentally conscious organisations and help them reduce their carbon footprint through sustainable operational decisions”.

WEEE Scotland shortlisted in National Recycling Awards 2019

Posted Friday 26 Apr 2019 09:08 AM

We are delighted to share some fantastic news with you - WEEE Scotland has been shortlisted in the Independent Operator of the Year category in National Recycling Awards 2019.

Being one of the finalists, WEEE Scotland will compete with other independent companies on multiple criteria including innovation, strategy implementation, performance efficiency and customer satisfaction.

A record number of entries across 18 categories were submitted this year. Products, services, processes and partnerships will be reviewed and evaluated by a panel of experienced judges from local authorities,academia and industry professionals.

Our Recycling and Compliance Director Lyndsay Stewart said: “We at WEEE Scotland are absolutely delighted to be nominated for the award. Being among the finalists in the Independent Operator of the Year category is a very special experience to us. It is great to have our hard work recognised. Since our opening in 2015, we’ve been working to reduce our partners’ carbon footprint by embracing the principles of circular economy. We are pleased to see that our efforts are paying off.”

The winners will be announced during the ceremony on Thursday 27 June in London Hilton on Park Lane. The National Recycling Awards were launched two decades ago in 1999, creating a long-standing tradition of recognising the most progressive players in the field of recycling.

WEEE Scotland vehicle in SMRC race

Posted Wednesday 10 Apr 2019 10:48 AM

What do WEEE Scotland and Scottish Motor Racing Club have in common? The beautiful Ford Fiestas XR2 which took part in the most recent club’s race while wearing WEEE Scotland’s designs.

Last Sunday, the 7th April, members of the Scottish Motor Racing Club geared up for the first race of the season. The clockwise racing event took place at Knockhill Racing Circuit in East Central Scotland. A total of 102 racers competed in eight categories:

- Scottish Citroen C1 Cup,

- Scottish Legends Cars Championship,

- Scottish Saloon and Sports Car Championship,

- Celtic Speed Scottish Mini Cooper Cup,

- Scottish Classic Sports and Saloons Championship,

- Scottish Fiesta Championship,

- Scottish Mini Cooper S Cup, and

- Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship.

One of the Round 1 winners, Duncan O’Neill, shared his thoughts: “The team and I had a fantastic day at Knockhill today. It is amazing to race among others who love this sport as much as I do. It is an absolute pleasure to be a part of the club.”

Duncan is one of the two drivers racing with a Ford Fiesta XR2 in Class H of Scottish Classic Sports and Saloons Championship. Scottish Motor Racing Club is the only club in Scotland offering Ford Fiesta XR2 racing, providing an excellent opportunity to partake in something exclusive.

When asked about his recent victory, O’Neill said: “I am extremely happy with the performance of our team. I am very grateful to my friends and family and everyone involved for the continued support. I would like to extend my gratitude to our long-standing sponsors WEEE Scotland whose support helped us gain two victories today.”

There are nine more racing events planned this season. Most of them are taking place in Knockhill where all vehicle classes can participate in clockwise and anti-clockwise events.Several themed races dedicated to specific vehicle classes are set to take place in Kirkinstown, Anglesey and Croft. The end of season race in early October is planned to be a clockwise event in Knockhill where all vehicle classes are welcome.

Pictures of the event can be found here:


Global Youth Climate Action strike

Posted Friday 15 Mar 2019 08:40 AM

Today, the 15 March, will go down in history as one of the most important environmental activism dates. Thousands of pupils and students all around the world are taking to the streets to express their discontent with the current governmental policies on climate change. The protests are taking place as part of the initiative called Fridays for Future started by a Swedish activist Greta Thunberg last August. Then a 15-year-old Thunberg started a School Strike for Climate by walking out of classes and protesting by the Swedish parliament building in Stockholm. Thunberg has vowed to keep protesting by the Swedish parliament every Friday until Sweden aligns its policies with environmental targets set out in Paris Climate Agreement. Since the single-person demonstration in August, the protest gained traction and grew to a Global Youth Climate Action strike.

According to the data on Fridays for Future website, there are currently 1659 towns and cities in 105 countries holding climate strikes on the 15 March, with over 100,000 pupils expected to walk out of classes worldwide. The coordinated strike this Friday is held with a purpose of getting attention of policy makers worldwide.

“For people under 18 in most countries, the only democratic right we have is to demonstrate. We don’t have representation,” said a Swiss student activist Jonas Kampus. Another activist, Anna Taylor from London said: “The rapid growth of the movement is showing how important it is and how much young people care.”

Some political leaders have criticised pupils for skipping classes, arguing that skipping school will not do much to improve the climate. Others,however, congratulated young activists for taking a stand and aiming to solve this global crisis. Among the world leaders supporting the strike were the UK environment secretary Michael Gove, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel, the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and numerous city mayors across the world. The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, after hearing Thunberg’s speech on climate change during the plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee, has pledged that a quarter of the European Union budget over the next financial period from 2021 to 2027 will be spent to mitigate climate change. The total EU budget is expected to amount to 1 trillion euros over the next seven years, effectively allocating 250 billion euros for climate action.

Thunberg has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for starting this global movement. “We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees,” said Andre Ovstegard, a Norwegian MP. The politician described the climate action movement as “a major contribution to peace”.

Pass it on Week: Pre Loved Technology sale

Posted Monday 11 Mar 2019 10:33 AM

For the fifth year in a row, our friends at Zero Waste Scotland are organising a week-long initiative aimed at reducing waste. The Big Declutter, happening as part of the Pass it on Week (9 -17 March), is a campaign urging us all to give our unwanted items a second life.

The aim of this initiative is to promote a re-use culture by encouraging people to get swapping, donating, sharing and repairing their stuff.This way, items in good working condition are passed on for further use in new homes, all while saving valuable resources and extending their lifetime.

This year, for the first time ever, WEEE Scotland takes part in the Pass it on Week. In the spirit of environmental protection and in support of circular economy, we are having a Pre-Loved Technology sale on our site.

Come along and find that gadget you've always wanted - for a fraction of price and environmental impact of a new one. Visit us in our facility at 249 Govan Road between Tuesday the 12th and Friday the 15th.

There will be something for everyone - phones, laptops, hairdryers, game consoles and all sorts of funky stuff. Come have a look!

You can find our stall at the following times:

Tuesday (12th March) 10am-3pm

Wednesday (13th March) 10am-3pm

Thursday (14th March) 10am-3pm

Friday (15th March) 10am-12noon

Institute for Public Policy Research predicts an environmental breakdown

Posted Tuesday 19 Feb 2019 14:49 PM

Destabilising human impact on the environment is driving us to the environmental breakdown, warns a new report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). “This is a crisis: Facing up to the age of environmental breakdown” report indicates that the unprecedented extent of human-induced environmental change has reached a critical stage. Human activity has led to the destabilisation of multiple natural systems, resulting in climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, land degradation, unsustainable biogeochemical flows, changes to ozone layer, and pollution.

If not addressed immediately and appropriately, theses changes may lead to socioeconomic instability, including such outcomes as conflict, famine, involuntary mass-migration and even possible collapse of economic and social systems. The extent of such disruption could be comparable to the global financial crisis of 2008.

The authors of the paper outline three main areas that require attention from politicians and policy makers: the pace and scale of environmental breakdown, the implications it has on societies, and the subsequent need for transformative change.

The unprecedented scale of environmental change is illustrated by the effects of rising average yearly temperatures. Since the records began in 1850, 20 out of 22 warmest years were the years leading up to 2019. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), human activities have caused the global temperatures to rise by approximately 1.0°C above pre-industrial levels. At the current rate of temperature increase of 0.2°C per decade, we are on track to reach the current target of 1.5°C increase between 2030 and 2052. According to the science community, after this point the effects of climate change will become increasingly dangerous and irreversible. IPCC report has warned that warming of 2°C may lead to the extinction of many insects, plants and animals due to the transformation of ecosystems. Such event would leave humanity extremely vulnerable, as three-quarters of food supply depend on as little as 12 species of plants and five species of animals.

The impacts of climate change can already be seen across multiple domains. The IPPR report suggests that because of human impact on ecosystems, species extinction rates have grown by a factor of 100 to 1000 in comparison to the historic rates of extinction at normal conditions. With vertebrate populations having declined by around 60 per cent since 1970 and as many as 58,000 species being lost each year, the Earth is going through an extinction of the scale similar to one that eradicated dinosaurs. Three-quarters of Earth’s land in significantly degraded and it is predicted to get even worse, with crop yields declining by 10 per cent on a global level and up to 50 per cent in the most vulnerable regions. The statistics of extreme weather conditions and natural disasters are no less shocking. Since 1950, worldwide number of wildfires increased sevenfold, the number of floods grew by 15 times, and extreme temperature events increased by a factor of 20.

The findings relating to the United Kingdom specifically just as alarming. The report refers to the United Kingdom as one of the “most nature-depleted countries in the world”. The annual rate of topsoil erosion currently stands at 2.2 million tonnes, with nearly a fifth of arable land showing signs of erosion. Furthermore, the most threatened species populations have decreased by two-thirds in comparison to the 1970s.

The implications of such radical changes will be dramatic. The consequences ranging from extreme weather conditions to rising sea levels and soil infertility are likely to destabilise environmental systems on local and global levels. An interaction between destabilisation and class, ethnicity and gender inequalities may lead to a chaos resulting in a collapse of key social and economic systems, sparking one of the greatest environmental challenges inhuman history. Such crisis is likely to primarily affect the poorest populations of the world who do not have the resources to combat it. Soil infertility in some regions may lead to famine, which in turn can motivate populations to migrate. Migration and search for new resources can spark conflict, potentially leading to a large scale chaos.

The authors call for the action from politicians and policymakers to bring the human environmental impact to sustainable levels, in addition to increasing efforts on the preparation for the environmental crisis.

Recent report shows the UK to be one of the worst WEEE offenders

Posted Thursday 07 Feb 2019 16:11 PM

A recent report by Basel Action Network, an environmental watchdog, revealed that a number of European Union countries, including the United Kingdom, were illegally exporting their e-waste to the developing world. In an attempt to explore the extent of WEEE exports, a team of BAN researchers conducted a study spanning across 10 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom). Over a two-year period, the researchers deployed 314 GPS tracker-fitted electronic devices, including LCD and CRT monitors, printers and desktop PCs. Such equipment is qualified as hazardous electronic waste because it contains circuit boards, lead and mercury among other dangerous or toxic substances.

The study revealed that of the 314 tracked electronic units, 19 (or 6 per cent) were exported abroad by all but one of the countries where WEEE originated. The worst offender was the United Kingdom with five exports to developing countries: three to Nigeria, one to Tanzania and one to Pakistan. Denmark and Ireland came in as tied second with three shipments each, and only Hungary did not export any of its waste electronic equipment.

Eleven devices, or 58 per cent of all shipments, were sent to developing countries, with Nigeria being the leading recipient. According to the European Union’s Waste Shipment Regulations’ Article 36 Basel Convention’s Ban Amendment (Decision III/1), such shipments to non-EU countries are prohibited in most circumstances. This means that part or all of the United Kingdom’s e-waste was likely to be exported illegally.

Earlier research shows that such practices are not new. An investigation conducted by BBC Panorama in 2011 has found that 77% of e-waste generated in England and Wales was exported to West Africa, primarily Ghana and Nigeria. According to Margaret Bates, a sustainable waste management professor at the University of Northampton, illegal e-waste trade is the result of high costs associated with safe, responsible recycling.

While six percent of all e-waste being shipped away at first sight may not seem like a good enough reason to be concerned, it may in fact represent an enormous amount of WEEE dumped onto developing countries. The extrapolation of national export rates shows that 19 exported electrical waste units can mean as much as 421,603 tonnes of WEEE exports per year.

Jim Puckett, the Executive Director at Basel Action Network, criticised the use of the “Repairables” loophole in WEEE legislation, which, if passed, would allow exporting e-waste to developing countries making a claim of ‘export for repair’. “We are already hearing the EU and industry lobbyists using the term "circular economy" as a justification for allowing more toxic exports to move to disproportionately burden the global South with difficult-to-recycle toxic waste electronics,” said Puckett.

Lack of appropriate waste management systems in devel
oping countries is likely to lead to open burning of unrepairable residual electronic parts, which will in turn contaminate rivers and crops as well as expose local populations to toxic heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury in addition to a number of cancer-causing substances.

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