Renewable Matter # 21 / May-June

The Cemetery of Cannibalised Refrigerators

by Antonio Pergolizzi

In Europe, and even worse in Italy, most waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) ends up on the black market, which in turn is highly influenced by the price of raw materials such as iron and copper. The brunt of environmental and social costs caused by illegal disposal are carried by all citizens. 

 

The picture of a cemetery for refrigerators – cannibalised and discarded in an abandoned industrial site just outside Rome, a stone’s throw from Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli – perfectly describes the effect of today’s circular economy black market piranhas. They feast on anything valuable (compressors and metals) and spit out the rest (the polyurethane body...

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