Report looks to influence WEEE revision
By Jake Thomas, Resource Recycling
With the European Union on the verge of revising its WEEE directive, makeITfair, a group seeking to call attention to environmental damage that waste electronics can cause, has released a report highlighting the problems of e-waste flowing from Europe to Ghana.
The report, titled What a Waste, has found that around 600 containers of obsolete electronics are shipped to the West African country each month, with the U.K., Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy and Spain among the top exporters.
"For a small part of the population, the import of used electronics is a lucrative business, but for the majority of the people involved in the e-waste industry it is a matter of survival," reads a statement from the organization. "Thousands of people are working in the informal waste industry in Ghana, where children constitute around 40 percent of scrap workers."
Although, the report notes that authorities in Ghana are aware of the problem and its scale, they've done little to address it aside from a modest recycling initiative.
Along with the Basel Action Network, the European Environmental Bureau and the Good Electronics Network, makeITfair is calling on the European Council to take three concrete steps:
First, they want the directive to remove all recently proposed exceptions that will allow untested, used electronics to be considered non-waste. Second, the organizations want the directive to include ambitious green design requirements. Third, a WEEE fee structure should be established to reflect different product properties.
The European Council could take action on the EU's WEEE Recast as soon as December.