What is e-Stewards?
The e-Stewards Initiative is a Basel Action Network (BAN) project and a response to irresponsible electronics recycling practices in the United States. This program is designed to make it easy to find responsible recyclers and to insure the integrity of recycling operations via a rigorous independent audit process conducted by accredited certification bodies.
Recyclers pledged or certified by e-Stewards agree to follow a rigorous set of guidelines that go beyond the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Basel Convention and the Basel Ban Amendment
The 1989 Basel Convention is a United Nations treaty designed to prevent the global dumping of toxic waste from developed countries to developing countries. It was amended in 1995 to ban the exportation of hazardous waste for any reason from rich industrialized countries to developing countries. This is called the Basel Ban Amendment.
Unfortunately, the United States is the only developed country that has failed to ratify the Basel Convention, let alone the Basel Ban Amendment. Because of this, it is illegal for many developing countries to accept hazardous waste from the U.S.—but many U.S. recyclers export e-waste to these developing countries anyway.
The Basel Action Network
The Basel Action Network formed in 1997 as a response to the United States’ failure to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment. BAN works to prevent the globalization of the toxic chemical crisis and supports the issue of global environmental justice—where no person or land is disproportionately poisoned or polluted due to market forces and trade.
e-Stewards Pledge Program
The e-Stewards Pledge program was announced in 2003 in an effort to help consumers make responsible choices. BAN qualified e-Stewards pledges by tracking toxic materials to their final destination. The program stopped accepting new applicants on October 15, 2009 in order to transition to a new program—the e-Stewards certification program.
Pledged e-Stewards meet the same core requirements as certified e-Stewards recyclers. This includes keeping e-waste out of developing countries, prisons, landfills and incinerators. Almost 50 electronics recyclers and 100 locations were qualified.
All Green Electronics Recycling is currently a pledged e-Steward. This means that we qualified for the program before October 15, 2009 and are currently working to obtain the new e-Stewards certification.
In 2006, BAN started to transition the program into an independently audited certification program in order to create a voluntary electronics recycling standard in the United States. The current certification program was established late 2008 and the first qualified recycler was announced in 2010.
Certification by e-Stewards is available in all developed countries and endorsed by over 60 environmental organizations worldwide, including Greenpeace USA and the Sierra Club.
There is also a program called e-Stewards enterprises for companies and institutions that agree to use e-Stewards recyclers. Some well-known names under this program are: Bank of America, Capital One, and Wells Fargo.
All Green Electronics Recycling’s Pledge
All Green Electronics Recycling chooses to conform to the e-Stewards standard because we believe that the cost of irresponsible electronics recycling is too high. Electronics contain hazardous chemicals that can contaminate our environment and lead to health and digestive problems if not recycled properly.
We voluntarily pledged to follow the e-Stewards standard because it is the right thing to do. We will:
- Define hazardous e-waste by international standards.
- Never export e-waste to developing countries.
- Never use prison or child labor.
- Handle hazardous e-waste and other problematic materials safely on-site.
- Take full accountability for the entire downstream recycling chain from toxic materials to final disposition.
- Have clear requirements for reuse and refurbishment.
- Conform to the NIST 800-88 Guidelines for Media Sanitization, address additional hard drive imperfections, and provide customers with written agreements regarding services provided and customer indemnity.
- Be transparent of our process for the entire chain of custody of toxic materials and will provide information to customers who request it, including records and documentation of e-waste going for recycling and reuse.
- Conform to the Amendment to the Basel Convention and other existing laws.