Toxic Loophole: Recycling Hazardous Waste into New Products

This report found that consumer products, including toys, made from recycled electronic waste are contaminated with toxic chemicals. Product testing in 19 European countries showed items on sale in Europe contained flame retardant chemicals, which are found in electronic waste and are restricted on health and environmental grounds. The report calls for closure of the loophole in EU legislation that allows products made from recycled waste to contain these contaminants. It outlines the changes in EU and international policy that would allow proper implementation of the Stockholm Convention to protect health and the environment by setting strict limit values for defining waste as being hazardous (POPs waste) and disallowing it there for export and toxic recycling.

  • Author: Jitka Straková, Joseph DiGangi, Génon K. Jensen
  • Number of pages: 40
  • Language: English
  • Publication date: 16/10/2018

Read the related press-release (16/10/2018)


"Progress in scientific knowledge, efforts to protect consumers, as well as public pressure, is contributing to restrictions over the most toxic chemicals in consumer products. Mouthing toys for children, food contact materials, and kitchen utensils belong to products that are regulated. Nevertheless, there are huge legislative loopholes ignoring contamination of those critical items by persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The recycling of plastic casings of electric and electronic devices that contain POPs may lead to contamination of an unrecognizable variety of new products."

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