The digital dump : exporting re-use and abuse to Africa

The Basel Action Network, October 2005, 85 p., pdf

The electronics and information technology industry is the world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturing industry. As a consequence of this remarkable growth, combined with the phenomenon of rapid product obsolescence, discarded electronic equipment, or e-waste, is now recognized as the fastest growing waste stream in the industrilized world.

While this new waste stream would be of environmental significance in any case, due to resource and energy consumption, because of widespread usage of toxic chemicals in today’s high-tech equipment, such as brominated flame retardants in plastics and circuit boards, beryllium alloys in connectors, lead-tin-based solders, lead- and barium-laden cathode ray tubes, mercury lamps, etc., most of these electronic wastes are hazardous wastes. This fact has been recognized in international law in the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention), a treaty designed to control and minimize the transboundary movement of hazardous waste.

 Read the document The digital dump (pdf)