"It's not an issue that can be solved by any one company," adds Harrell. Companies need strong and easy take-back systems and they need to audit the e-waste providers, he says. Greenpeace wants manufacturers to push for federal laws that impose better recycling standards.
E-waste is a growing and dangerous problem, with the U.S. having no laws that forbid export of toxic e-waste, says Blanchard. Without such laws, e-waste scams are prevalent.
Disreputable companies collect used electronics, refurbish what they can and then ship the toxic stuff overseas where it often poisons the land and water supply in developing countries, says Kimberly Henning, vice president of business development for Gazelle. Gazelle is an auction site where people can sell their used consumer electronics, and send those items that do not sell to Gazelle for responsible recycling. Gazelle is one of the companies that powers consumer electronics take-back programs from manufacturers and retailers including eBay and Walmart, Henning says.
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