Well, it turns out a lot of those devices may not be getting recycled at all. The United States is the single largest producer of electronic waste, generating almost 8 million tons a year.
A non-profit watchdog group in Seattle, the Basel Action Network, investigates how well electronics recycling and refurbishing programs are working. Are they living up to pledges to dismantle unwanted TVs, printers, and other items in a responsible manner? Or are they shipping them — and the toxic metals and chemicals inside — to scrapyards in developing counties?
EarthFix reported on BAN’s latest investigation, which involved the placement of hidden GPS trackers in 200 dead electronics and computer items to find out where they went. Here’s what they discovered.