Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sins of Recycling – II

In one of my older posts, Sins of Recycling, I wrote that recycling might not be as green as many thought. An article, Where’s That Trash Going (IT14, The Star, December 4, 2007) provides more insight:


While there are no precise figures, activists estimate that 50% to 80% of the 300,000 to 400,000 tons of electronics collected for recycling in the United States each year ends up overseas.

Workers in countries such as China, India and Nigeria then use hammers, gas burners and their bare hands to extract metals, glass and other recyclables, exposing themselves and the environment to a cocktail of toxic chemicals.

“It is being recycled, but it’s being recycled in the most horrific way you can imagine,” said Jim Puckettt of the Basel Action Network, the Seattle-based environmental group that tipped off Hong Kong authorities.

“We’re preserving our own environment, but contaminating the rest of the world.”


The idea of recycling is noble, but actual implementation proves to be difficult. We should really reduce and reuse before we recycle.


  1. Actually in Malaysia we are really lucky if compared with other still development country. Save our earth to maximum the activities of reuse and recycle !

  2. "reduce and reuse" I think that would be the real practical solution.
    But to many, simplicity is still not an option....

  3. keeyit,
    Yes, the environmental problem isn't so severe in Malaysia, but we must not be complacent.

    I gotta agree that few people are willing to reduce and reuse. Essentially we recycle so that we don't feel so guilty...