Thursday, February 11, 2010

Global Launch Near For New e-Stewards Certification & Standard

Feb 9: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced its endorsement of the first-ever certification program for electronics recycling created jointly by the environmental community and business leaders. NRDC said the new e-Stewards Certification and Standard, held by the Basel Action Network (BAN), is seen as essential to stem the tide of hazardous old computers, TVs, monitors and other electronic waste currently flooding African and Asian countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and China. Jim Puckett, BAN Executive Director said, "NRDC recognized that we have finally created a principled yet practical solution to e-waste recycling that environmentalists, businesses and consumers can all embrace. We are thrilled to receive NRDC's coveted endorsement in the lead-up to our global launch."

    NRDC said it is joining with BAN to call on all electronics recyclers to become e-Steward Certified recyclers, and at the same time is asking all businesses to become designated "e-Steward Enterprises" by agreeing to give priority to e-Steward recyclers for their old electronic assets. The e-Stewards recyclers are a group of leading North American electronics recyclers and asset managers who have been qualified as upholding the highest standard of environmental and social responsibility. Environmental and social justice advocates urge you to make use of these recyclers for all of your e-waste disposal/recycling/asset management.

    By March 1, 2010, accredited certifying bodies will independently assure conformity to the revised e-Stewards Standard, thus providing the highest level of assurance that they meet the world's most responsible environmental and social justice criteria for electronics recyclers. The criteria include no toxic e-waste dumped in landfills or incinerators, exported to developing countries, or sent to prison labor operations and accountability for the entire recycling chain of toxic materials.

    NRDC Senior Scientist Dr. Allen Hershkowitz said, "This initiative is sorely needed. Many e-waste recyclers claim to be green, but in reality they rely on unsafe and ecologically damaging methods like dumping millions of tons of toxic waste each year in China, India and Africa. E-Stewards provide businesses and consumers with a first-of-a-kind seal to identify the truly responsible recyclers." In 2008, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report roundly criticizing the US EPA for not doing more to promulgate and enforce rules to control the e-waste trade. Unfortunately, to date little has changed and a market-based solution is seen as more necessary than ever." [See WIMS 10/28/09].

    Businesses that agree to make best efforts to use e-Steward recyclers will be rewarded as designated e-Stewards Enterprises. The first global companies to receive these e-Steward Enterprise designations as well as the first Certified e-Steward recyclers will be announced in March. Already there are about 50 North American recyclers that are considered "Pledged e-Stewards" which have been vetted by BAN and are licensed and committed to becoming certified in the next 18 months. These companies include some of the largest electronics recyclers in North America. Due to the widespread fraudulent or unscrupulous exportation and irresponsible practices now plaguing the electronics recycling industry, consumers are urged to use only these Pledged e-Steward recyclers.

    Access a release from NRDC (click here). Access the complete list of Pledged e-Stewards (click here). Access the e-Stewards website for complete information on certification and related information (click here). Access the BAN website for more information (click here).