We're annoyed for many reasons, least of all the lack of real reporting on the subject of illegal e-waste export that has been going on for over a decade. We're annoyed with the poor reporting by the UK's media that simply doesn't even take into account the chain of responsibility and refers only to the WEEE directive. Lets get this straight, the WEEE directive relates to the recycling of WEEE, the requirement of the EU for the UK to recycle WEEE as a member state of the EU.
The WEEE directive requires the UK and Local Authorities to meets specific targets, each and every year in terms of the weight of WEEE recycled per head of population.
Local Authorities and the Environment Agency license recycling companies as permitted sites to carry out the recycling of WEEE and report volumes recycled back to them. These volumes are then reported back to the EU. Recycling companies state that the costs to recycle WEEE exceed the value of many recycling contracts (Producer Compliance Schemes). As far as we're concerned, this may apply to fridges, but material recovery from just about everything else covers itself financially, without the need to sell the waste for export!
That was in effect the whole aim of the WEEE directive.
The WEEE directive further requires all WEEE to either be recycled to specific levels (ie dismatled) or refurbished back into EEE for re-use. The Export of WEEE as EEE without repair and refurbishment is not permitted. So, why is it that companies can spring up with a view to recovering WEEE and simply exporting it by the container load for a quick profit?
What's really annoying is the lack of any mention on the web, press or media regarding the Basel Convention and it's direct reference(we mean in the Appendix of this convention) to the prohibited movement of Hazardous wastes across transcontinental boundaries without the prior consent of both the country receiving the waste and that sending it. The Appendix to this wonderful international treaty lists "cathode ray tubes" among Hazardous wastes that cannot be moved. The UK and Africa are BOTH signatories to this Convention. All we saw in Panorama's program on the BBC were Cathode Ray Tubes!
Why is it that this issue has been going on for over a decade with little to no change and just as much waste being exported.