The school district of Philadelphia is launching a probe into how one of their monitors was found in a landfile in Ghana. After the monitor was spotted in a PBS Frontline documentary and repeated inquiries were made by Technically Philly, the school district announced it would launch an investigation.
“The School District of Philadelphia does not encourage or condone the illegal dumping of any school district property anywhere in the world,” read the statement issued by the district. “As a result… [we are] currently investigating the source and disposal record of the equipment found in Ghana.”
The computer was one of many visible in the Frontline report and illustrates the ongoing problem of e-waste dumping into developing countries. Millions of tons of e-waste are dumped into the West African country, China, and others.
The school district has maintained a “green” policy regarding the disposal of electronic equipment since 2006, and is unsure if this is an isolated incident or just one example from the hundreds of pounds disposed by the district each year. The district had partnered with a recycling company that provided pickup and recycling services at no charge to the district.
This report illustrates the trouble many companies have in identifying responsible computer recyclers for their end-of-life hardware. You owe it to yourself to personally view a companies recycling processes, and ask about their export policies. While your at it, ask if they are a Basel Action Network e-steward. The BAN e-steward pledge is for a zero-landfill, zero-export approach to recycling.