Blog: Toxics

How your TV could end up in Nigeria to be illegally dumped

Posted by jamie — 18 February 2009 at 11:18am - Comments

Television are shipped from the EU to Nigeria to be sold, scrapped or illegally dumped

Television are shipped from the EU to Nigeria to be sold, scrapped or illegally dumped © Greenpeace/Buus

As you may have seen on Sky News or the cover of the Independent this morning, our researchers have been conducting a three-year investigation in what really happens to electronic waste. The results show that, instead of being recycled responsibly like it's supposed to be, e-waste is being disguised as second-hand goods and being shipped of to (in this case) Nigeria. There, it's sold, scrapped or illegally dumped.

Acting on a tip-off, we launched our operation in collaboration with Sky Television to see just where some electronic waste was ending up. We took an unfixable TV, fitted it with a tracking device and brought it to Hampshire County Council for recycling. Instead of being safely dismantled in the UK or Europe, like it should have been, the council’s 'recycling' company, BJ Electronics, passed it on as 'second-hand goods' and it was shipped off to Nigeria to be sold or scrapped and dumped.

Green gadgets - The search continues

Posted by jossc — 8 January 2009 at 2:46pm - Comments

Vast amounts of e-waste are routinely and often illegally shipped as waste from Europe, USA and Japan to places where unprotected workers recover parts and materials.

E-waste: as much as 4,000 tonnes is being dumped every hour

Our second greener products survey, "Green Electronics: the search continues", released today, assesses the progress made in 2008 by consumer electronics companies on their commitments to green their products. Fifteen major electronics brands submitted 50 of their most environmentally friendly new products - mobile and smart phones, televisions, computer monitors, notebook and desktop computers, and game consoles for evaluation. The survey assesses the products on their use of hazardous chemicals, energy efficiency, overall product lifecycle (recyclability and upgradeability) and other factors such as the promotion of environmental friendliness and innovation.

Waiting for Apple to meet 'computer detox' promise

Posted by jossc — 7 January 2009 at 3:40pm - Comments

Green My Apple logo

Apple's detox promise: close but not quite there yet

Mac fans in our office (and there are more than a few) were getting excited yesterday - we were expecting an announcement from MacWorld 2009 in San Francisco, confirming that Apple would as promised be removing all toxic PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from its entire new product range.

Confidence was high that this was going to happen because we've had the word from the man himself - Apple CEO Steve Jobs - from as far back as May 2007 that toxic PVC and BFRs in Mac computers would be history by the end of 2008. His enthusiam for the subject, of course, initially stemmed from the success of our Green my Apple campaign, which generated huge support and discussion from Mac addicts worldwide.

Greener Electronics – major companies fail to show climate leadership

Posted by jossc — 24 November 2008 at 4:50pm - Comments

The latest edition of our Guide to Greener Electronics has revealed that very few firms are showing true climate leadership. Despite many green claims, major companies like Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo, LG, Samsung and Apple are failing to support the necessary levels of global cuts in emissions and make the absolute cuts in their own emissions that are required to tackle climate change.

More from our international site  »

Nokia tops latest Greener Electronics Guide

Posted by jossc — 16 September 2008 at 1:35pm - Comments

Ghana: boys burning electronic cables and other electrical components in order to melt off the plastic and reclaim the copper wiring. This burning in small fires releases toxic chemicals into the environment

Company scores plummeted in the previous edition of Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, when new criteria on climate change were introduced. However, leading brands like Nokia and Samsung are now making significant progress in greening their electronics products, with improved environmental policies responding not only to these new energy criteria, but also to the more stringent chemical and e-waste criteria.

Poisoning the poor - electronic waste in Ghana

Posted by saunvedan — 5 August 2008 at 9:16am - Comments


Do you know what happens to your old telly once it conks out and you chuck it away? Well, it gets dumped onto developing countries in Asia and Africa as 'second hand goods' where unprotected workers (often kids) dismantle computers and TVs in search of metals that can be sold. The remaining plastic, cables and casing is either burnt in an e-waste pyre or simply dumped. Let me take you on a virtual journey to the 'scrapyards' of Ghana where some of the electronic waste from the western world ends up.

Apple releases iPhone 3G’s Environmental Status Report

Posted by saunvedan — 17 July 2008 at 9:31am - Comments

iPhone 3G Environmental Status Report I don't know what's made Apple post the iPhone 3G's Environmental Status Report but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Maybe Apple Chief Steve Jobs read my blog and decided to act before our scientists got their hands and screwdrivers on his latest phone. While the new iPhone has less polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR) than the original one, Apple has yet to eliminate these and other harmful substances like antimony, beryllium and phthalates.

Making phones without any PVC or BFR isn't a problem for Sony Ericsson and Nokia so why is Apple lagging behind? The iPhone in my opinion is a very stylish handset that scores high on usability and enjoys a cult following judging from the queues to buy it. It's a pity that it's not as green as the others when there's no reason why it couldn't be. Apple has promised to get rid of PVC and BFRs by the end of this year though. Let's see if they fulfil it.

Apple iPhone 3G: Twice as fast but slow on promises

Posted by saunvedan — 11 July 2008 at 12:39pm - Comments

iPhone 3G
Update 17 July 2008: Apple releases iPhone 3G's Environmental Status Report

Get ready folks, the Apple iPhone 3G is out today. What are you going to do? Run to the nearest store and join the queue or find out whether Apple has lived up to its green promises? Well, I have some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is that the iPhone 3G will come in potato starch packaging which is definitely greener than plastic. But what we are concerned about is the nasty stuff inside the iPhone like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR).

Company scores plummet in Greener Electronics Guide

Posted by jossc — 25 June 2008 at 11:50am - Comments

A pile of electronic waste on a roadside in Guiyu, China. © Greenpeace / Natalie Behring-Chisholm

With expanded and tougher criteria on toxic chemicals, electronic waste and new criteria on climate change only Sony and Sony Ericsson score more than 5/10 in our latest Guide to Greener Electronics. Nintendo and Microsoft remain rooted to the bottom of the Guide.

The Greener Electronics Guide is our way of getting the electronics industry to face up to the problem of e-waste. We want manufacturers to get rid of harmful chemicals in their products. We want to see an end to the stories of unprotected child labourers scavenging mountains of cast-off gadgets created by society's gizmo-loving ways.

Game consoles: no consolation

Posted by jossc — 20 May 2008 at 12:45pm - Comments

Playing Dirty - none of the best selling games consoles come out clean

Nintendo's Wii. Sony's PlayStation 3 Elite. Microsoft's Xbox 360. They promise a whole new generation of high-definition gaming, but when it comes to the crunch, it's the same old story. As our search for greener electronics continues, it was time for the game consoles to go to our labs for scientific analysis – and all of them tested positive for various hazardous chemicals.

Our analysis, published in our new report, Playing Dirty, detected the use of hazardous chemicals and materials such aspolyvinyl chloride (PVC), phthalates, beryllium and bromine indicative of brominated flame retardants (BFRs).

More information on our international site »

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