Computer and electronic manufacturers forming the Information Technology Industry Council are lobbying to have waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) reclassified as non-waste to enable it to be exported to developing countries, mostly in Asia and Africa, for repair.

Under the Basel Ban Amendment C currently implemented in 33 countries C the export of WEEE (classed as a hazardous waste) to developing countries is illegal.

According to ITI, which represents Apple,? Dell, HP, Sony, Samsung and LG and other major tech firms, the amendment is necessary to ensure the environmentally sound management of e-waste while promoting a common understanding among governments that movements of used equipment for legitimate repair and reuse are not wastes.

For one watchdog group, however, the implications of such changes are significant. The Seattle-based Basel Action Network worries that the trade group's proposed language could lead to a deluge of exporting of gadgets containing toxic lead, cadmium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants to countries ill-equipped to safely dispose of them.