E-waste Wave Sweeps the Globe

Feature Story - 2005-05-23
In the eighth Beijing International High-Tech Expo, Greenpeace China shamed the dirty companies attending the Electronic expo in Beijing, by unveiling a 2.7 metre high statue shaped as a wave, built using the companies’ electronic waste collected from e-waste recycling yards in Guiyu, Guangdong Province.

Greenpeace activists deliver a truckload of toxic electronic waste to Hewlett Packard's (HP) European headquarters in Geneva. Greenpeace is calling on all dirty electronics companies to stop using toxic chemicals in their products. Greenpeace is conducting ongoing investigations into scrap yards in India and China, where much of the electronic waste is illegally exported.

This reflects that e-waste is now threatening the environment where we live in.

'E-waste wave' is made of the wastes collected from Guiyu, a seriously polluted area in Guangdong. The environment has been seriously damaged, because e-waste disassembling has not been regulated for years.

E-waste from Guiyu, with HP marks, was brought to the company's headquarters in Geneva on the same day, urging the company for commitment in using clean materials in future production.

Who is making this?

According to a Greenpeace report released in December 2003, the test sample of HP's Pavilion a250nl computer contained the highest levels of tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBA) and other kinds of brominated flame retardants (BFRs): the plastics of the tested products contained up to 20% of BFRs by sample weight. We have been in negotiations with electronics companies over the past two years, pressing them to stop using toxics in their products. Companies such as Samsung, Sony and Sony Ericsson have already taken a first step by eliminating brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from some of their products.

HP has not responded so far, until our protest and action in Geneva and Beijing respectively.  The company indicated to meet and discuss with Greenpeace International within the following 10 days.  Yet, later the day, HP claimed that its products are always environmentally-friendly and its take back policy is available in 36 countries.

A Greenpeace volunteer stands next to a wave statue as part of a display about E-waste. Greenpeace China Shamed the dirty companies attending the expo in Beijing, by unveiling a 2.7 metre high statue shaped as a wave. The statue is constructed from electronic waste gathered from the e-waste recycling yards in Guiyu, Guangdong Province

Producers' Corporate Responsibility

We are very disappointed toward HP's claim, and issued a statement reinstating HP should face up the problem.

Greenpeace advocates Extended Producers' Responsibility, which means electronic companies must take full responsibility for the effects that their products bring to the environment. First, we urge the electronic companies to use clean substances and to stop the toxic pollution from the source. Second, we demand electronic producers to recycle and safely dispose the e-waste.

The threat of e-waste is approaching. The e-waste statue will never been realised only if electronic producers take full responsibility for their products.