Nearly a third of used electronics imported into five West African countries were already broken -- and should have been classified as electronic waste -- according to a new United Nations report.
Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, and Nigeria "produce" nearly one million tons of e-waste every year. But most of this is imported -- sometimes from commercial resales, other times through donations. If these countries had the infrastructure to recycle electronics sustainably and safely, the electronic waste would not be as big an issue. But that's not the case, which is bad news for the environment and people's health.
Proper recycling of electronic items also enables the recovery of precious metals like copper, gold and silver as well as strategic materials like indium and palladium.