Members of the international environmental group Greenpeace protested the Computex trade show in Taipei on Wednesday. The group was seeking to bring to the attention of show-goers the issue of electronic waste.
Nine campaigners wearing protective suits and masks stood in front of an entrance to the Taipei World Trade Center and displayed posters depicting children holding dumped electronic waste. Many of the photos were taken in Guiyu, China. The town is a major recycling center for the world’s electronic goods but much of the work is done by hand and toxic substances are not disposed of properly, according to Greenpeace.
“We wanted to use Computex Taipei as an opportunity to let the Taiwanese industry know that they are using toxic substances inside their products and we want all the industry, not only the Taiwanese industry, to stop using toxins inside their products,” said Jamie Choi, a Beijing-based toxins campaigner with the organization. “We are also here to remind Acer, the Taiwanese computer giant, to keep its promise of phasing out toxics inside their products.”
The toxic substances make it difficult to dispose of used electronics products safely. The products often end up in scrapyards or buried in landfill, where the toxic substances are released and seep into ground water, polluting the surrounding area.
Choi and other Greenpeace representatives are due to meet with Acer on Thursday to gauge the progress of the company’s plan to phase out toxic substances.
Greenpeace says a number of companies including Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Samsung Electronics, Sony and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications have already set timelines to phase out the use of toxic substances in their products. The group is putting pressure on other major electronics companies including Apple, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens Computers GmbH, Lenovo Group, Motorola, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic) and Toshiba to do the same thing.
recently announced a recycling program that enables buyers of new Macs from its US Apple Store Web site and retail store locations to send their old computers back for recycling, even if they aren’t Macs. Apple said the recycling is done domestically and does not ship hazardous material overseas. Apple has
a Web page that describes the company’s environmental initiatives.
Peter Cohen included information in this report.