A recycling company in Surrey, B.C., has been charged with exporting hazardous waste overseas for allegedly sending recycled batteries and cathode ray tubes to Macau without a permit.

Electronics Recycling Canada is facing 24 counts under the Environmental Protection Act.

Jim Puckett heads Seattle-based Basel Action Network, a group that follows such items after recyclers receive them. He applauds the charges but says Canada has been lax in enforcing regulations.


Watchdogs say many e-waste recyclers are exporting the materials overseas. (CBC)

"The Canadian government is not taking this seriously," Puckett said.

"Despite this one enforcement action, we could point them to a lot more opportunities for enforcement action and we could point them to the fact that this should be considered a criminal act and involve jail time to really serve as a deterrent."

Puckett says lots of e-waste — old, recycled computers, TVs and electronics — from B.C. makes its way to China, where it contributes to huge environmental and health problems.

"Too many of these guys that are calling themselves electronics recyclers are just all about export," he said. "The area that receives most of this in China [where] 88 per cent of children have extreme lead poisoning in their blood."

Puckett says past enforcement has only resulted in small fines.

Electronics Recycling Canada did not return interview requests from CBC News.

With files from the CBC's Jason Proctor