We probably missed it (released in June 2009) due to not being on the send list, but now we’ve read it and it is high time we introduced to you the INTERPOL report Electronic Waste and Organized Crime – Assessing the Links.
The report goes in to some depth analysis of electronic & electric tra$h, highlighting facts such as the annual turnover of the UK market; UK£2 million (US$ 3,3 million), using the example to paint an overview. Most intriguing conclusion is that actors in the legal market claim that contractors offering free recycling of toxic electronic products probably also operate illegally, as profiting otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
Further, the report gives an image of the incentives of entering the illegal market: Tra$h fat cats buy (for example) an old TV, with the promise that their company will recycle it and sell the parts for profit, but instead sells it in a developing country. Buying the unit will cost US$4 or so, and sell for US$8.
Last but not least, the people behind the report call for more research in order to cast light over these shadowed activities. We most certainly agree to that. Increased efforts of recycling must not be the source of growing international crime (and with that, increased numbers of non-recycled electronics and electrics spewing out toxins once their capacity to entertain finally stops).