Computer Weekly claims that IT managers are failing to properly question technology recycling firms, which they employ to dispose of their machines supposedly ethically. Consequently according to reports many thousands of crates of toxic IT waste is reportedly being dumped in developing countries.
"We are finding people saying they have a contract with a refurbishment firm, and this firm has promised it is going to do all sorts of good things," said Adrian Harding, policy advisor at the Environment Agency. "But they never check it. The problem is people are taking things on trust - you would not do that when you are buying the equipment. We want people to take as much interest in their end of life equipment as they do on the procurement side."
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive was introduced to reduce the amount of IT waste being sent to landfill. But Tony Roberts, CEO and founder of re-use charity Computer Aid International, said, "The directive has had the positive effect of increasing awareness around IT environmental issues," he said. "But the most significant growth area has actually been the sham re-use companies. The equipment which we hoped would be diverted for re-use has largely been diverted for commercial resale - both by legitimate organisations, but also by the cowboys who pack it into trucks and send it to Africa and India."