For too many years the developed world has shipped discarded ICT to far off parts of the world like Agbogbloshie in Ghana, with little regard to what happens to the equipment once it leaves domestic shores. The idea of stewardship doesn’t exist at a local level. It needs to so that acceptance on a global scale is adopted.
Legitimate e-waste recycling offers an attractive revenue stream for disposal companies, whilst helping to reduce landfill contamination and raw material extraction. However, the reality is that developing countries handle the bulk of the world’s e-waste and informal recycling markets dispose, shred, burn and dismantle e-products in ways that are damaging to both the planet and human health.
It is more viable to pursue “urban mining” from scrap ICT than it is to execute traditional mining and yet a recent study by MIT Sensible City Lab and the Basel Action Network shows very few are adopting this as an alternative practice.