The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sarah Westervelt

Jim Puckett

E-Stewards: Activists and Industry Join To Certify Responsible Electronics Recyclers


The Basel Action Network and the Electronics TakeBack
Coalition joined today with 32 electronics recyclers in the United
States and Canada to announce that the e-Stewards program, which
identifies the most responsible recyclers in North America, is soon to
be fully accredited and certified.

e-Steward Certification will be the continent's first independently
audited and accredited electronic waste recycler certification program.
It will forbid the dumping of toxic e-waste in developing countries,
local landfills and incinerators; the use of prison labor to process
e-waste; and the unauthorized release of private data contained in
discarded computers.

"Unfortunately today, most of those companies calling themselves
electronics recyclers are scammers," said Sarah Westervelt, e-Stewards
project coordinator at the Basel Action Network (BAN). "They simply
load up containers of old computers and ship them off to China or
Africa. By choosing an e-Steward recycler, consumers and large
businesses are assured that their old computers and TVs will be safely
managed and not simply tossed into a local landfill, processed unsafely
by prison laborers, or exported to developing countries."

The e-Stewards announcement follows Sunday's gritty expose on CBS' 60 Minutes, Following the Trail of Toxic e-Waste; the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's recently aired Electronic Dumping Ground; and a recent episode of the French Canadian Program Panorama, Electronic Waste: The Hidden Face of Recycling
(in French). These programs reveal that computers given to recyclers in
the United States and Canada are likely to be dumped in China or
Africa, where e-waste is causing immeasurable environmental and health

In September, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) also released a report, Electronic
Waste: EPA Needs to Better Control Harmful U.S. Exports through
Stronger Enforcement and More Comprehensive Regulation
, denouncing
the lack of government controls and enforcement over e-waste exports.
The Electronic TakeBack Coalition and BAN are also pursuing federal
legislation to ban national exports. If the legislation passes, the
audited certification program will serve as a strong enforcement tool.

"The e-Stewards project is a response to the failure of government and
industry to act as responsible global citizens in the age of
information technology," said Jim Puckett, BAN executive director. "It
is also a wonderful example of how industry leaders and activists can
move mountains when they work together - in this case, move mountains
of e-waste to truly responsible recyclers."

The e-Stewards
already include 32 companies in 92 locations that have been qualified
by BAN. Today, BAN announced that by early 2010 the program will
feature an ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB)
certification system with third-party auditing. The funding to create
this robust certification program was provided by 14 recycling
companies designated as e-Steward Founders.

The e-Steward Founders are Boliden AB, California Electronic Asset
Recovery, Cascade Asset Management, ECS Refining, Electronic Recyclers
International, GreenCitizen, Hesstech, Metech, Redemtech, RELectronics,
the Surplus Exchange, Total Reclaim, Waste Management Recycle America
and WeRecycle!.

"Currently, the truly responsible recyclers in the US and Canada face
unfair competition from the thousands of unethical, so-called 'waste
recyclers' in North America that would more accurately be called 'waste
shippers,'" said Neil Peters-Michaud of e-Steward Founder, Cascade
Asset Management. "We strongly support a certified, audited program to
separate the legitimate recyclers from the low-road operators. We urge
consumers and businesses to only use qualified e-Stewards and thus make
sure that their old electronics are being safely recycled here at home."

To view a short film on e-Stewards, E-Stewardship: Taking Responsibility in the IT Age, click here.

For interviews with e-Stewards, contact:
* Bob Houghton, President, Redemtech, 614-850-3326
* Neil-Peters Michaud, CEO, Cascade Asset Management, 608-316-6637
* Mike Wright, CEO, Guaranteed Recycling Experts, 720-377-7700

For more information about:
* The e-Stewards Initiative:
* Global e-waste dumping:
* The Electronics TakeBack Coalition:

Basel Action Network's mission is to champion global environmental health and justice by ending toxic trade, catalyzing a toxics-free future, and campaigning for everyone's right to a clean environment.