An undercover tracking program is revealing the toll of the e-waste trade.
People want to feel good about “doing the right thing”. Recycling is an example of a “feel good” activity and “ethical recyclers” stepped in to help people feel good about their recycling. But the recyclers were not doing what they claimed. Enormous and toxic electronics waste tonnage was sent off to China where it created an environmental mess.
Like many activities, corruption and fraud take hold. Another related area is carbon offsets, where activities having little benefit may occur and where much of the offset work is invisible (and untrackable).
As long as so many consumers want to feel virtuous without undertaking meaningful efforts, scams like this will continue to perpetuate.