E-waste is a really big problem at the best of times but it becomes a bigger problem because of some of the absolute rubbish that passes itself off as electronics equipment. This rubbish being sold would have really poor performance with respect to comparable units, the reliability is probably low, the look and feel of it would be cheap and nasty, and the buyer would readily throw it out.
One of the sources of this cheap electronics over in Australia and in the UK is through what’s known as the white van speaker scam. How it works is that crafty, slimy, unethical “salesmen” do the hard sell out of white vans in places such as supermarket carparks.
Dave Jones over at the EEVblog (which is where I learnt about the scam) has a video about a really poor quality audio amplifier that would have been sold in one of these scams:
I have yet to hear of this sort of thing happening here in New Zealand and if it has not happened yet lets hope that it never will.