The Basel Action Network and the Electronics TakeBack Coalition have joined with Electronic Recyclers International of Fresno to create the “e-Stewards Initiative” — a certification program for North America’s most responsible e-waste recyclers.
The e-Steward Initiative is described as the first independently audited and accredited electronic waste recycler certification program forbidding the dumping of toxic e-waste in developing countries, local landfills and incinerators; the use of prison labor; and the unauthorized release of private data.
“Unfortunately today, most companies calling themselves electronics recyclers are scammers,” says Sarah Westervelt, e-Stewards project coordinator at the Basel Action Network (BAN) in Seattle. “They simply load up containers of old computers and ship them off to China or Africa.”
The e-Stewards announcement follows Sunday’s report on CBS’ 60 Minutes exposing fraudulent electronic recycling and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s recently aired Electronic Dumping Ground. These programs reveal that computers given to many recyclers in the United States and Canada are likely to be dumped in China or Africa, where e-waste is causing environmental and health problems.
“The genuinely responsible recyclers in North America face unfair competition from thousands of unethical, so-called ‘waste recyclers’ that would more accurately be called ‘waste shippers,’” says John Shegerian, chairman and CEO of ERI. “We strongly support a certified, audited program to separate the legitimate recyclers from the low-road operators.”
“Our planet’s glut of e-waste is no longer a problem we can sweep under the rug,” Mr. Shegerian says.
Funding to create the certification program was provided by 14 recycling companies.
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