Developing countries get a lot of imports from Europe, the U.S. and China. Used cars, buses and trucks, for instance, can be driven on and off ships to be resold at their destination. But you’d be surprised at what might be inside these vehicles. According to a new study from the United Nations University titled “Person in the Port Project: Assessing Import of Used Electrical and Electronic Equipment Into Nigeria” (released April 19, 2018), tens of thousands of tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) is being smuggled into Nigeria’s busy ports, stuffed inside roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) imported used vehicles, and other routes of import.

 

 “The import of UEEE in RoRo imported vehicles was found to be the main UEEE import route. It was assessed to be 41,500 t per year, which could be higher or lower depending on the ratio of cars to trucks and bus imports. “

 

The study revealed that at least 15,400 tonnes of the total 60,000 tonnes of used electrical and electronic equipment (UEEE) shipped to Nigeria in 2015 and 2016 was found not to work. The study also found that 70% of UEEE arrived in vehicles intended to be put on Nigeria’s second-hand car market, while the rest arrived in shipped containers. Most of the electronics imported in used vehicles was undeclared and 98% originated from EU countries, mainly from the UK and Germany, with the rest coming from the U.S. and China.

While some of these used devices can be repaired and reused in Nigeria, this enormous shipment of e-waste violates the Basel Convention: an international treaty aimed at reducing the quantity of hazardous waste being shipped from more developed to less developed nations. According to the convention, only functional electronics can be shipped.

 

Learn about TXO’s e-waste recycling services

As one of the world’s leading telecoms recyclers, TXO Systems is proud to be an ethical and responsible business. Where telecommunication network equipment has no further market value, or cannot be refurbished for return to service, we offer a comprehensive WEEE recycling service. All items are disposed of safely and responsibly with minimum impact on the environment.

TXO Systems hold high environmental standards and maintain industry best practices for safe and responsible WEEE recycling, with all activities carried out in line with regulatory legislation – see our certifications page for details. We specialise in telecoms and corporate WEEE recycling of all types of telecoms and data equipment such as mainframes, base stations (BTS), desktop computers, circuit boards, cables and associated components and process over 3,000 tonnes of high quality recycled materials per year.