Federal Agents Indict Chicago-based Electronics Recycler

The e-waste crisis has created a underscored climate of deviation and departure from regulatory control. The controls are necessary in order to ensure that electronics are properly disposed. Without them, the dangers of too much e-waste become a reality, causing pollution of air, soil and water and threatening the livelihood and health of communities.

Players in the e-waste saga, from recyclers to consumers to electronics manufacturers do sometimes seek to circumvent these regulations for a number of reasons. Often it is cheaper and generally less of a hassle to ship electronics illegally to developing nations. Things get especially dicey when recyclers get paid to recycle electronics through government programs, only to ship them at a much cheaper rate to the poorest regions of west Africa or China.

There is ample evidence that such practices are occurring. A suspected “waste mafia” criminal network has even grown up around the practice. Yet there is sometimes little that can be done to hold large-scale clandestine e-waste trafficking accountable in ways that lead to arrest or punishment.