Electronic Equipment: Waste Disposal

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of checks to prevent the exportation of toxic electronic waste to developing countries.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Environment Agency takes a pro-active intelligence led approach to ensure it targets those posing a high export risk. Its use of Stop Notices has proved to be an effective tool in prohibiting the movement of waste prior to export. The costs associated with returning a waste shipment that is found to be unfit for export to the site of origin for further treatment can accumulate to be a significant cost to the exporter. Sites loading WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) are targeted for checks and site visits to provide advice and guidance on their responsibilities.

In 2017 the Environment Agency inspected over 1,000 shipping containers and returned 367 of these to their site of loading. This stopped over 7,000 tonnes of waste not fit for export at ports, and they also prevented nearly 9,000 tonnes of waste from reaching ports.

When concerns have been raised about particular sites in non-EU countries, further information has been requested from the relevant authorities to confirm sites are permitted and regulated according to their national laws.

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