Every year, up to 50 million tons of electronic waste - computers, television sets, mobile phones, household appliances - are discarded in the developed world. 75% of this waste disappears from the legal recycling circuits, with much of it being shipped illegally to India, China or Africa. Illegal recycling and waste dumping is a multi-million dollar business, polluting the environment and destroying the lives and health of those forced to live with it.   This film takes the viewer on a breathtaking journey of investigation to Europe, China, Africa and the US. It reveals how the European recycling system, plagued by lack of controls, greed and corruption, leaks like a sieve to shady international exporters; how harbour officials in Europe and Asia are fighting a losing battle against the immense volume of e-waste crossing the oceans; why the US are the biggest exporter in the world; and how whole cities in China are literally drowning in our discarded appliances, where they are recycled with a total disregard for the environment or the future.   As a result, recycled and damaged computer chips are creeping into the production lines of electronics that control key aspects of our lives, such as public transport, creating a huge security risk in the process.   Can the toxic tide be stemmed, or are too many people willingly turning a blind eye?  

Director's statement

Cosima Dannoritzer’s last movie “PRET A JETER” (THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY) opened our eyes on the planned obsolescence of consumer products and namely, of electrical and electronic equipment.   These appliances are known to have shorter and shorter lifespans because of technological advances and their use, but also because of the deliberate policies of the manufacturers, of our hunger for consumption, of this new “religion” of wanting the latest gadget. We are all players and are responsible for this waste, this scandal.   “E-WASTE TRAFFIC” picks up the story where ‘THE LIGHT BULB CONSPIRACY” left off.   We are trying to understand how it is possible that such a huge quantity of electrical and electronic waste, all highly toxic, can leave Western countries every day and end up in Africa, in China or other countries when we know exporting this kind of waste is illegal?  


Why this choice?

Large-scale traffic of electronics, inefficiency of the recycling policies in this field and the health and environmental consequences it all has are denounced thanks to a well-conducted investigation…   Or how the Western countries get rid of their electronic waste or e-waste and make Africa their trash bin.     Awards :
  • 'Golden Award' for 'Best International Co-Production for TV', Prix Italia 2015
  • ‘International Documentary Award’, Planeta.Doc 2015, Brazil
  • 'Special Mention by the Jury', Filmambiente 2015, Brazil
  • 'Honorary Mention by the Jury', Festiver 2014, Colombia
  • 'Golden Award', Al Jazeera International Documentary Festival 2015 (medium-length category)