Electronic waste clogging up UK landfill sites

PCs clogging up UK's landfill sites
PCs clogging up UK's landfill sites

At this year's Green IT Expo in London, Computer Aid, a charity that helps to re-direct and put second hand PCs to good use in developing countries, highlighted the growing problem of used PCs clogging up the UK's landfill sites.

"According to recent research there have been 12.5 million used computers that have found there way to UK landfill sites in the last five years," a Computer Aid rep told TechRadar today. A shocking and worrying statistic, as we are sure you will agree.

Illegally dumping PCs

The research quoted, carried out by Fujitsu Siemens earlier this year, also showed that over a million computers have been dumped in household rubbish or in the countryside and that one in four people take their unwanted computer to their local tip.

The Fujitsu Siemens research makes for fairly shocking reading, stating that: "Electrical and electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Around 1.8 million tonnes are generated every year.

"The main component of waste electronic equipment is large household appliances known as white goods, which make up 43 per cent of the total. The next largest component is IT equipment, which accounts for 39 per cent."

WEEE directive failing

Computer Aid recently launched its own campaign against the growing problem of toxic e-waste, petitioning the UK government to address the problem and to provide the Environment Agency with the resources needed to police the 'Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment' (WEEE) directive.

Computer Aid's CEO Louise Richards says of the campaign that: "It's imperative that the government clamps down on fraudulent traders posing as legitimate re-use and recycling organisations.

"The waste is manually scavenged for metals then stripped down and incarcerated in the open air. The high volume of environmentally unsound e-waste is driven almost exclusively by the motive of profit, but the cost is borne by the environment and the children who disassemble the equipment."

For more info on the hugely important development work being done by Computer Aid International check out the charity's website

Adam Hartley