BAN, a global watchdog group, recently conducted a study by dropping 205 old printers and monitors at Goodwill stores and at electronics recyclers. Inside the equipment they hid GPS trackers that sent BAN a signal of their precise location every 24 hours. After many months 40% of the equipment they had delivered to companies calling themselves recyclers and 15% percent given over to Goodwill were exported -- mostly to a little-known area of Hong Kong, China known as New Territories. To complete the study BAN traveled to China.
"What we found was very disturbing," said BAN director Jim Puckett.
"Undocumented, unprotected workers smashing mercury and toxic toner laden devices from the US, were compelled to breathe the deadly dust and fume. Much of the unrecyclable residues were scattered in waysides while many of the electronics junkyards routinely caught fire -- sending a plume of dioxins over schools and residences."
BAN even found boxes of electronic waste at the junkyards labeled as coming from Earth Day electronic waste collection events!