'60 Minutes' examines the business of e-waste recycling

In Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS TV news magazine examines the lucrative but shadowy business of mining the e-waste for valuable components, including gold.

In Sunday's 60 Minutes, the CBS TV news magazine examines the lucrative but shadowy business of mining e-waste--junked computers, televisions, and other old electronic products--for valuable components, including gold. However, often illegal and hazardous activity creates toxic pollution, which in turn leads to brain damage, kidney disease, cancers, and mutations. In the segment, correspondent Scott Pelley examines the ethics of the recycling industry. (For the full 60 Minutes segment, see "The Electronic Wasteland.")

In the first clip, Pelley takes a tour of Denver electronic waste recycling company GRX, a member of "E-Stewards." The stringent program is run by the Basel Action Network, a watchdog group that certifies ethical recyclers that do not ship their toxic materials overseas.

In the second clip, the 60 Minutes crew chronicles piles of electronics blanketing the Chinese countryside waiting to be recycled. E-waste workers in Guiyu, China, where Pelley's team videotaped, put up with the dangerous conditions for the $8 a day the job pays.

In the third clip, scientists discuss e-waste, the fastest-growing component of the municipal waste stream worldwide, and the impact it has on those whose lives depend on it. The toxic pollution from black market recycling leads to brain damage, kidney disease, cancers, and mutations.

In the fourth clip, Pelley and his crew are attacked and threatened with violence by area gangsters overseeing the e-waste operations who tried to take the CBS team's cameras. The smugglers were trying to protect the lucrative business of mining e-wasted. However, Pelley's crew managed to escape and bring back footage of the hazardous activities.

 

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