E-Waste Export Bill to Stop Global E-Waste Dumping & Boost Green Jobs

U.S. Representatives Gene Green (D-TX) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) yesterday introduced new legislation – the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act - to stop sham U.S. “recyclers” from dumping electronic waste on developing countries and to promote recycling jobs at home. The bill is supported by environmental groups as well as electronic manufacturers (Dell, HP, Samsung, Apple, and Best Buy), all of which already have policies that prohibit the export of e-waste to developing nations. The bill also has bipartisan support, including sponsors Reps. Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Lee Terry (R-NE). “This is the most important step our federal government can take to solve the e-waste problem – to close the door on e-waste dumping on developing countries,” said Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a national environmental coalition which promotes responsible recycling of e-waste. “It will bring recycling jobs back to the U.S.”

The bill addresses the toxic exposures caused by e-waste dumping and primitive recycling operations in countries like China, India, Nigeria, Ghana, which have the subject of recent media exposés, and a scathing report by the U.S. Governmental Accountability Office (GAO).

“The States have been passing laws that are already increasing the amount of e-waste collected for recycling, instead of land-filling,” said Kate Sinding, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council.“Unfortunately, these laws can’t stop recyclers from simply sending our e-waste – and our jobs - to developing nations where improper handling threatens health and the environment. But Congress can.”

Twenty five states have passed e-waste recycling legislation, but these laws do not ban e-waste exports, which is an international trade issue, and not the constitutional jurisdiction of the states. Only Congress has the authority to legislate this much needed restriction.

“This bill accomplishes two things: first, it prevents hazardous material from being shipped where it will be mishandled and cause health and environmental damage; and second, it is a green jobs bill and will create work here in the U.S., processing these used products in safe ways,” said U.S. Representative Gene Green (D-TX). “I applaud HP for leading on this issue and their responsible recycling.”

“Each year, millions of tons of electronics equipment are discarded in the U.S. and shipped to developing nations for unsafe salvage and recovery,” said U.S. Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA). “By carefully regulating the export of e-waste, this bipartisan legislation takes concrete steps to address a growing environmental and health crisis while creating good-paying recycling jobs here in the U.S.”

Currently, electronic waste is exported to developing countries by many U.S. companies that claim to be recyclers, to be bashed, burned, flushed with acids, and melted down in unsafe conditions in developing countries. Eighty percent of children in Guiyu, China, a region where many “recycled” electronics wind up, have elevated levels of lead in their blood, due to the toxins in those electronics, much of which originates in the U.S. The plastics in the imported electronics are typically burned outdoors, which can emit deadly dioxin or furans, which are breathed in by workers and nearby residents.

“As an industry leader in product lifecycle improvements, HP does not allow the export of e-waste from developed countries to developing countries. We support the work of Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) to pass the Responsible Electronics Recycling Act, and we encourage other companies to join the effort and promote responsible recycling,” said Ashley Watson, Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for HP.

The bill establishes a new category of “restricted electronic waste” which cannot be exported from the U.S. to developing nations. Used equipment can still be exported for reuse as long as it’s been tested and is fully functional. Non-hazardous parts or materials are also not restricted. Other exemptions from the restrictions are:

  • products under warranty being returned to the manufacturer for warranty repairs;
  • products or parts being recalled; and
  • crushed cathode ray tube (CRT) glass cullet that is cleaned and fully prepared as feedstock into CRT glass manufacturing facilities

“Not only is this bill good for the environment, but it gives a boost to small business recyclers and creates more green jobs. This is what both the industry and our customers want,” said Dewayne Burns, CEO, eSCO Processing and Recycling.

Similar legislation was introduced in the House in September of 2010, but it was too late in the Congressional session for the bill to advance. This time, the bill has added a provision for research into recycling and recovery of Rare Earth Metals from electronics. Export of electronics scrap to crude recycling operations in developing countries also prevents proper collection and recycling of precious and strategic metals.

“This bill is both a boon to the health of our environment and our U.S. economy. With it, we stop squandering critical metals resources, stop poisoning children and we create good recycling industry jobs in the USA at the same time,” said Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the Basel Action Network.

As e-waste piles up, disposal issues grow

Trashed computers, TVs and other gadgets make up the fastest-growing municipal waste stream in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency. As much as 80% of electronic waste goes out with the trash, the EPA estimates, while only about 20% is properly recycled. "Everyone has e-waste. Whether it's your mom who has three cellphones in her desk or your dad who owns the largest corporation in the world," says John Shegerian, the CEO of Electronic Recyclers International, which handles a large amount of recycled electronics. Overall, the recycling industry accounts for $236 billion in annual revenue, according to the U.S. Recycling Economic Information Study commissioned by the EPA.

Recycling of many materials — such as glass, paper and plastics — is common practice for many Americans. Yet, when eco-conscious people want to winnow down a growing stash of unneeded tech products, how do they do that in an environmentally friendly way?

For starters, don't just throw your electronics in the trash.

Many gadgets have toxic materials in them that might be released in a landfill or when burned in an incinerator, says Barbara Kyle, national coordinator for the Electronics Take-Back Coalition. "It seems pretty obvious, but it's not to a lot of people," Kyle says.

Awareness of the e-waste problem has grown, prompting about half the states to pass some sort of e-waste recycling law. But consumers who want to get rid of unwanted devices properly have a growing list of options:

Recycling manufacturers. Companies such as LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony have joined the Consumer Electronic Association's eCycling Leadership Initiative, announced in April, which aims to recycle one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016, up from the 300 million pounds of electronics recycled in 2010. "It's us trying to put our best foot forward to having a national program about electronic recycling," says CEA's Tim Doyle.

For a list of dozens of companies that accept products for recycling go to: digitaltips.org/green/default.asp.

Recycling retailers. Retailers such as Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples and Target accept many products for recycling at their stores. For free, a small fee or a monetary incentive, these stores serve as pick-up spots for discarded consumer electronics, with the ultimate goal of reducing this growing form of waste.

The discarded cellphones, TVs, laptops and computers are then brought to an electronic recycling plant, such as one of ERI's seven locations, which recycles about 160 million pounds of e-waste annually, for salvaging.

For information about which stores participate and what products they will take back, go toepa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/donate.htm.

Green recyclers. Not all recyclers are created equal when it comes to the proper disposal of e-waste. To identify those that observe best practices, the Basel Action Network last year began auditing and certifying electronics recyclers under its e-Stewards program.

E-Stewards recyclers remove hazardous materials from electronics, as well as mine products such as cellphones, if they're not reused, for precious metals such as silver, gold, palladium and copper. Gold can also be recovered from computers. And none of their e-waste is shipped overseas where it could contaminate the environment of developing countries.

"People have hung onto things for years because they didn't know what to do with it," says Lauren Dykes of New York-based WeRecycle, which removes hazardous materials from electronics and processes reusable equipment or material. For a list of e-Steward recyclers, go to e-stewards.org.

Increased concerns about exportation of recycled e-waste polluting the water supply and contaminating soil in developing countries has become a hot-button issue internationally, domestically and locally.

Last month, the EPA awarded a five-year, $2.5 million grant to the United Nations University (an international community of scholars) to develop a more effective way to measure e-waste, address concerns about illegal e-waste shipment cocerns and assess the routes through which used electronics exit the country.

Manufacturers have responded to public opposition to e-waste exportation. "We are intent on not letting recycled end-of-life products leave the country and be disassembled in places that aren't handling it correctly, because there are toxic metals in old TVs and other devices," says Peter Fannon, Panasonic's vice president of technology policy. Among the toxic materials: lead in older TV tube glass and TV soldering, and mercury in older LCD displays.

Seven years ago, Panasonic quit using lead or hazardous materials in TV production, he says.

In this session of Congress, Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, says he plans to resubmit a bill prohibiting the exportation of e-waste. Public support has also driven state legislatures to pass e-waste measures. "It is prompting people to look a little more carefully at how this is getting there," Kyle says, "and 'Is the TV I haul to my Earth Day collection event going to end up in this backyard recycling dump in China?'"

E-waste is not going away soon. Consumers are expected to continue to snap up new electronics; meanwhile, they still have as many as 99 million analog TVs to dispose of, the EPA estimates.

As e-waste grows and concerns mount, it's time for a change, Shegerian says. "We have a long way to go," he says. "Once people know that they shouldn't be throwing away their cellphones or their laptops or their iPads or their copying machine, once they know the dangers that exist if they do that — they want to do the right thing."

Toxic ship banned in Bangladesh heads for India

The 31,0000 ton oil carrier, Gulf Jash, a ship previously known as Probo Koala, was banned from entering Bangladesh for ship breaking for environmental safety reasons. The tanker is believed to contain hazardous asbestos, PCBs, toxic paints, and chemical residues. In 2006, Probo Koala caused the death of 16 people in Ivory Coast when it dumped toxic chemicals along the country’s coastline.A hazard inherent to ship-breaking is the tremendous risk of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a highly toxic mineral fiber that was used in the building of boats throughout the 19th and 20th centuries The use of asbestos has been banned in most developed nations for causing such serious illnesses as asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the protective lining of the body’s major organs and cavities. However, asbestos has not been banned in most Asian countries, making them popular breaking destinations for toxic boats.

Now it is feared that the Gulf Jash is headed for India’s Gujarat Port en route to the Alang ship-breaking yard. Dismantling ships is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Ship breaking workers are regularly exposed to carcinogens, and in Asia, they are rarely provided proper safety equipment. Inhaling asbestos on a daily basis is the sole cause of pleural mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, and a disease prevalent among shipyard workers.

Health and safety experts say that countries such as Indian and Bangladesh will continue to be the dumping grounds for toxic ships until laws are put in place requiring that all ships be dismantled in their country of origin

U.S. Cargo Ship Poised To Dump Toxic Waste On Bangladesh

A U.S. flagged cargo vessel called “HARRIETTE” was cleared on 1 June by the U.S. Maritime Administration for scrapping on the notorious beaches of Chittagong, Bangladesh with the surprising support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In past years, EPA required that older U.S. flagged vessels be tested for toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) prior to being exported to foreign scrap yards, as the export of PCBs violates the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA has been the only legal means of preventing the toxic dumping of obsolete U.S. ships on Asian beaches, where impoverished workers dismantle ships by hand and suffer from accidental loss of life and occupational disease. Now, EPA seems willing to ignore its obligation to diligently administer TSCA, as directed by Congress, and instead of testing, is allowing ship owners to self-certify that their ships are PCB free -- effectively permitting the possibility of illegal export of toxic PCB waste to the developing world with a see-no-evil policy.

“Self-certification has time and time again proven to be a failed process of regulating industry,” said BAN’s Green Ship Recycling Campaign Director, Colby Self. “Ship owners who routinely maximize profits by dumping hazardous waste ships to be broken down by desperately poor laborers in primitive conditions are the wrong people to police themselves.”

In January 2010, the U.S. Maritime Administration prompted the U.S. EPA to review the HARRIETTE vessel transfer request, as filed by U.S. owner Sealift Inc., to assure compliance with TSCA. MARAD awaited a recommendation from EPA since January; however, EPA declined to review or make a recommendation, completely disregarding their obligations under TSCA. In the recent past, EPA had always required ship owners to test their vessels if there was a likelihood of PCB presence within the ships structural materials. MARAD then authorized the transfer request based solely on self-certifying claims from the ship owner.

EPA’s inaction positions the beneficiary with regulating his own actions, with a favorable determination bringing the owner a reported USD$3.2 million in the case of the HARRIETTE. Another vessel known as the PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND followed a similar path in March, in which the owners netted a reported USD$10 million from ship breakers at Alang, India. This U.S. vessel also was suspected of containing PCBs due to its 1975 year of construction and yet was never required to be tested.

“It appears that the Obama Administration has made a deliberate change in policy to knowingly turn a blind eye to the fate of U.S. flagged ships being scrapped on Asian beaches,” said Mr. Self. “Sadly this is being done even when they know the exports will result in untimely death and disease and are in fact being exported in contravention of U.S. law.”

The HARRIETTE was constructed in Japan between 1976-1978, and due to limited regulations under the Japanese Chemical Substances Control Law at that time, there is high probability that the vessel was built with toxic components, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, lead and TBT based paints. EPA’s own guidance documents suggest vessels of this vintage (pre-1979) are assumed to contain regulated concentrations of PCBs (equal to or greater than 50 parts per million) unless sampling of all suspected materials prove otherwise. No sampling was conducted on the HARRIETTE nor on the PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND.

Further, the HARRIETTE’s export to the ship breaking beaches of Bangladesh is not only a likely violation of U.S. environmental regulation but also a breach of the United Nations Basel Convention, which prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes from a non-party, such as the United States, to a member state, such as Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh is urged to ban the HARRIETTE from the ship breaking beaches of Chittagong and to uphold the principles of the Basel Convention in the same manner as their recent ban on the vessel called GULF JASH.

U.S. Ship poised to dump toxic waste on Bangladesh

A U.S. flagged cargo vessel called “HARRIETTE” was cleared on 1 June by the U.S. Maritime Administration for scrapping on the notorious beaches of Chittagong, Bangladesh with the surprising support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In past years, EPA required that older U.S. flagged vessels be tested for toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) prior to being exported to foreign scrap yards, as the export of PCBs violates the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA has been the only legal means of preventing the toxic dumping of obsolete U.S. ships on Asian beaches, where impoverished workers dismantle ships by hand and suffer from accidental loss of life and occupational disease. Now, EPA seems willing to ignore its obligation to diligently administer TSCA, as directed by Congress, and instead of testing, is allowing ship owners to self-certify that their ships are PCB free -- effectively permitting the possibility of illegal export of toxic PCB waste to the developing world with a see-no-evil policy.

“Self-certification has time and time again proven to be a failed process of regulating industry,” said BAN’s Green Ship Recycling Campaign Director, Colby Self. “Ship owners who routinely maximize profits by dumping hazardous waste ships to be broken down by desperately poor laborers in primitive conditions are the wrong people to police themselves.”

In January 2010, the U.S. Maritime Administration prompted the U.S. EPA to review the HARRIETTE vessel transfer request, as filed by U.S. owner Sealift Inc., to assure compliance with TSCA. MARAD awaited a recommendation from EPA since January; however, EPA declined to review or make a recommendation, completely disregarding their obligations under TSCA. In the recent past, EPA had always required ship owners to test their vessels if there was a likelihood of PCB presence within the ships structural materials. MARAD then authorized the transfer request based solely on self-certifying claims from the ship owner.

EPA’s inaction positions the beneficiary with regulating his own actions, with a favorable determination bringing the owner a reported USD$3.2 million in the case of the HARRIETTE. Another vessel known as the PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND followed a similar path in March, in which the owners netted a reported USD$10 million from ship breakers at Alang, India. This U.S. vessel also was suspected of containing PCBs due to its 1975 year of construction and yet was never required to be tested.

“It appears that the Obama Administration has made a deliberate change in policy to knowingly turn a blind eye to the fate of U.S. flagged ships being scrapped on Asian beaches,” said Mr. Self. “Sadly this is being done even when they know the exports will result in untimely death and disease and are in fact being exported in contravention of U.S. law.”

The HARRIETTE was constructed in Japan between 1976-1978, and due to limited regulations under the Japanese Chemical Substances Control Law [1] at that time, there is high probability that the vessel was built with toxic components, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, lead and TBT based paints. EPA’s own guidance documents suggest vessels of this vintage (pre-1979) are assumed to contain regulated concentrations of PCBs (equal to or greater than 50 parts per million) unless sampling of all suspected materials prove otherwise.[2] No sampling was conducted on the HARRIETTE nor on the PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND.

Further, the HARRIETTE’s export to the ship breaking beaches of Bangladesh is not only a likely violation of U.S. environmental regulation but also a breach of the United Nations Basel Convention, which prohibits the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes from a non-party, such as the United States, to a member state, such as Bangladesh. The Government of Bangladesh is urged to ban the HARRIETTE from the ship breaking beaches of Chittagong and to uphold the principles of the Basel Convention in the same manner as their recent ban on the vessel called GULF JASH.

NGOs call on Bangladesh: Stop Death Ship Before it Kills Again

The Probo Koala, now re-named the Gulf Jash, a ship which caused an environmental and human rights disaster in the Ivory Coast in August 2006, has been sold for scrapping on the infamous ship breaking beaches of Chittagong in Bangladesh. Environmental, human rights and labour rights organisations represented by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform fear that the Probo Koala will be allowed to perpetuate its deadly legacy by being broken down in unsafe and environmentally damaging conditions. The Platform is calling on the government of Bangladesh to refuse the import of the ship. It is expected that the Probo Koala contains many tonnes of hazardous asbestos, PCBs, toxic paints, fuel and chemical residues. Currently the ship is located in Vietnam. In 2006, the transnational company Trafigura used the Probo Koala to illegally dump 528 tonnes of toxic waste in Abidjan, the largest city of the Ivory Coast, causing the death of 16 people according to the Ivorian authorities [1]. Global Marketing Systems (GMS), a US company specialised in the brokering of vessels for demolition, confirmed it had bought the ship last week, but had so far not disclosed its final destination [2]. However its website currently lists that one of the advantages of utilising Bangladesh as a destination for end-of-life tankers is the lack of requirements for testing for gas residues within the ship [3]. These gases might ignite and explode when a shipbreaking worker uses a cutting torch.

“The Probo Koala already is a symbol of an unaccountable and irresponsible shipping industry,” said Bangladeshi lawyer and director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Rizwana Hasan. “We demand that this ship and all others like her, carrying toxic substances and intent on exploiting yet again the population and environment in the developing world, be barred from entry into Bangladesh.”

Shipbreaking as is done on the beaches of South Asia is one of the world’s most dangerous and polluting enterprises [4]. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform has, through its member organisation BELA, successfully petitioned in the Bangladeshi courts to stop the import of toxic ships for breaking, and safer methods of breaking ships already exist today. However, due to intense political and economic pressure from the shipbreaking and shipping industry, the court ruling has temporarily been lifted pending further decisions. Unless and until the High Court decision is allowed to stand, toxic ships will continue to pile up on the beaches of Bangladesh where they are broken apart by hand exposing workers to explosions and occupational disease, while contaminating the coastal environment.

“A ship that was used to generate, and then dump toxic waste in a developing country is now aiming to do the same all in the name of ship recycling,” said Ingvild Jenssen, Director of the Platform. “While victims of the dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast are still awaiting effective justice and fair reparation for their harm, we must stop this ship before it causes more casualties.”

If the Bangladeshi authorities do not stop the vessel from entering its territorial waters, the NGOs fear that the ship will be allowed to perpetuate its deadly legacy by being broken down in unsafe and environmentally damaging conditions. According to the Platform, toxic ships should be dismantled in green recycling facilities where workers and the environment are protected from exposure to toxic waste.

Navy Abandons Plan To Sink Senator McCain’s Old Aircraft Carrier

The Basel Action Network, a global toxic trade watchdog organization, claimed victory today as the U.S. Navy confirmed it had changed its decision to scuttle the aircraft carrier USS FORRESTAL, choosing instead to have the ship recycled here in the United States. This change followed the December 2010 release of BAN’s report “Jobs and Dollars Overboard: The Economic Case Against Dumping U.S. Naval Vessels at Sea.” BAN estimates that the recycling of the FORRESTAL will save millions of taxpayer dollars, create approximately 500 green jobs in the domestic recycling industry, and create about 1,900 jobs in the overall economy[1] for one year. In addition to the FORRESTAL, the Navy now says it will recycle three other retired carriers: the SARATOGA, INDEPENDENCE, and CONSTELLATION. In past years, these vessels would all have been dumped at sea as artificial reefs or as part of the Navy’s costly sinking exercise program (SINKEX). For example, the aircraft carriers AMERICA and ORISKANY were both scuttled, costing taxpayers over $20 million each.

“The Obama Administration’s new plan to recycle these four aircraft carriers appears to be a signal that the Administration may be correcting long-standing misguided policies that not only squander resources, but American jobs as well,” said Colby Self, BAN’s Green Ship Recycling Campaign Director.

BAN’s calls to the Navy to end its plans to sink the USS FORRESTAL began in 2008, following the Navy’s report to Congress in which it clarified its intent to sink the ship as an artificial reef. By July 2009, the Navy had already spent $6.4 million removing asbestos from the vessel in preparation for ship scuttling. BAN warned that costs would quickly escalate when treatment of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) began, pointing to the disaster caused by efforts with another ship, the ORISKANY, where the Navy spent a reported $23.6 million to sink it. Yet by its own admission, the Navy had not removed all the hazardous PCBs on the ship, probable human carcinogens that are passed through the marine food chain to humans who consume contaminated fish.

On Dec. 13, 2010, just days before military leaders met at the Pentagon to decide the fate of this next round of obsolete vessels, BAN published its report making the economic case for choosing recycling over ocean dumping. This report was the first to call the Navy’s SINKEX program a significant waste of taxpayer dollars. It also included an open petition calling on the Navy to end the wasteful practice of dumping valuable metals at sea instead of recycling them, a choice that would save millions of dollars and also support domestic recycling jobs.

The recently revealed decision to recycle the FORRESTAL is welcomed by BAN, but so too is the Navy’s recently announced plans to stop dumping ships via SINKEX in 2011 while it reevaluates the benefits and impacts of the program. This comes on the heels of some 95 documented naval vessels having been dumped at sea in the last decade alone.

However, BAN remains concerned that the federal government has not stopped the plan to sink the ex-destroyer ARTHUR RADFORD this May. The ship is now under the command of a three-state artificial reefing pact comprised of Delaware, New Jersey and Maryland. BAN notified officials of regulatory inconsistencies with artificial reefing efforts off Delaware’s coast in September 2010 and has raised serious economic and environmental concerns about artificial reefing’s waste of taxpayer dollars and the significant ocean pollution it causes. While the EPA has yet to approve the sinking, the Navy has already spent $200,000 in preparation.

“BAN calls on the US EPA, Navy and the Atlantic States to halt the plans to sink the RADFORD at once. 2011 can be the year that marks the point in history when we steer away from the arcane policy of scuttling our jobs and resources while polluting our seas, and opt instead for cutting the budget, creating American jobs and preserving our environment,” said Self.

Alcoa Leads the Way in Responsible e-Waste Recycling -- Earns e-Stewards Enterprise Designation

The Basel Action Network (BAN) announced today that Alcoa has become an e-Stewards® Enterprise, recognition for the company’s commitment to responsible recycling practices for its electronic waste (e-waste) in North America and advocating the responsible disposal of e-waste everywhere. The distinction is granted to companies that agree to always make best efforts to use only e-Stewards® Electronics Recyclers. “Consumer electronics represents a fast-growing market for aluminum, with the aluminum content in laptops alone expected to increase 30 percent by 2013 from a 2010 baseline,” said Alcoa’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Kevin Anton. “By joining the e-Stewards Enterprise program, Alcoa brings its long-standing environmental stewardship and expertise to help solve the growing e-waste challenge.”

Alcoa is a recognized sustainability leader and has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for nine consecutive years. Through this new e-Stewards partnership with BAN, Alcoa is working to ensure its raw materials are responsibly recycled at their end of life and is driving sustainability in the consumer electronics sector.

The Basel Action Network, an environmental organization dedicated to promoting responsible e-waste recycling practices and preventing toxic trade, created the e-Stewards Recycler and Enterprise programs to stem the tide of toxic electronic waste that currently is exported to developing countries.

“At this pivotal time in what is shaping up to be a worldwide e-waste dumping crisis, Alcoa has laudably joined a growing list of business, academic and governmental leaders taking concrete action to keep e-waste out of landfills worldwide,” said Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the Basel Action Network, creator of the e-Stewards program.

As an e-Stewards Enterprise, Alcoa commits to ensuring its e-waste does not contribute to the global toxic waste crisis. E-Stewards Certified Recyclers undergo a professional audit every year to guarantee they do not export hazardous recycling byproducts to developing countries, use U.S. prison labor, or dump in municipal landfills. E-Stewards recyclers also ensure that private data is kept secure, and that their operations protect both workers and the environment.

“Principled and practical certification programs like e-Stewards are among the best tools in our global sustainability toolbox,” said Frances Beinecke, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council, also an e-Stewards Enterprise. “Today, Alcoa has thrown its hat into a new arena of increasing importance – electronic product and waste stewardship.”