Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, is Europe’s busiest port. It’s become the scene of a very 21st-century crime: smuggling electronic waste illegally out of Europe and into poor countries. When Europe mandated e-waste recycling, only two or three million tons of waste was turned in, not the expected seven million tons. The missing e-waste was probably exported illegally.
It’s unfortunate, because it’s particularly important to properly recycle e-waste. E-waste contains dangerous chemicals like lead, beryllium, mercury, and cadmium. Improperly disposed of, these materials can seep into groundwater, contaminate the soil, and pollute the air.