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Electronic Waste Theft Rates on the Rise

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 15:08:48

Figures published this month suggest that Europe is suffering from a spate of e-waste abduction, although the term for this practice is technically scavenging since the items in question have already been dropped off for recycling by their original owners.

The EERA revealed that gadgets and IT kit worth almost £100 million were estimated to have been scavenged in the past 12 months throughout the continent.

This figure was happened upon due to the disconnect between the projected amount of e-waste expected to have been generated last year compared with the actual volumes that were processed.

As more people sell old mobile phones and send other electronic appliances for recycling than ever before, it is easier for regulators and industry bodies to make accurate predictions about this kind of activity.

The problem with e-waste is that it is in many cases still valuable, not only for the raw materials contained within gadgets but also because many products which are sent for recycling can actually be reclaimed, refurbished and resold.

When this practice is carried out legitimately, with users fully aware what is happening to their products, this is all well and good. But if items are scavenged from recycling facilities, the lack of control and regulation of this could lead to a variety of issues.

It is not just that this type of scavenging constitutes theft which is at issue. It is the fact that as soon as an item is taken out of the official recycling system, there is no way to monitor how sustainably it is being dealt with going forwards.

As all European nations attempt to tackle the issue of e-waste generation, being able to accurately track and process appliances and IT hardware is essential, so a crackdown on scavenging will be necessary.




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