The Basel Action Network (BAN), the group that first documented the dumping of toxic electronic waste in China and Africa, recently announced the official launch of the world’s first global e-waste recycler certification – the first such program backed by environmental organizations and major corporations alike.
The accredited, third-party audited certification program has not only been endorsed by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Electronics TakeBack Coalition and 68 other environmental organizations, it has also drawn the support of major corporate “e-Stewards Enterprises”, including Bank of America, Capitol One Financial, Wells Fargo and Samsung.
“Samsung is honoured to be the first electronics manufacturer recognized with the e-Stewards standard for rigorous recycling and e-waste materials management,” says J. C. Ser, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics America. “This is a major validation of our efforts as we have responsibly recycled more than 20 million pounds of e-waste since the beginning of our Samsung Recycling Direct program in 2008 and plan to continue strengthening our commitment and leadership in this industry.”
At the heart of the program is the e-Stewards Standard, created by BAN with the advice of industry leaders and health and environmental specialists. It calls for recyclers to eliminate exports of hazardous e-wastes to developing countries, to halt the dumping of such wastes in municipal landfills or incinerators, and to cease the use of captive prison populations to manage toxic e-wastes.
The program also calls for strict protection of customer’s private data and occupational health safeguards to ensure that workers in recycling plants are not exposed to toxic dusts and fumes.
Currently, there are about 50 e-Stewards Recyclers, each of which has passed a rigorous internal review by BAN as a preliminary step to full certification. All are regarded as responsible recyclers, and each has committed to becoming fully certified by September 2011.