San Jose Becomes First City to Commit to using e-Stewards® Recyclers for Electronic Waste

The California City of San Jose, the tenth largest city in the United States, and "capital of Silicon Valley," today became the first city to earn the e-Stewards Enterprise designation for responsible recycling of electronic equipment. By becoming an e-Stewards® Enterprise, San Jose will always give preference to all of its electronics recycling contracts to those recyclers certified to the "e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment." Over 70 environmental groups worldwide have endorsed the e-Stewards Standard, including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the National Resources Defense Council. "The city most commonly associated with leading the Information Age, has now chosen to take the lead by choosing the gold standard for responsible and sustainable electronic waste management," said Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the Basel Action Network (BAN) the toxic watchdog organization. "Far too often citizens and cities have been defrauded by rogue companies calling themselves recyclers, that routinely dump old computers and TVs on developing countries. E-Stewards Recyclers are audited and certified to ensure against such malpractice."

The e-Stewards Standard, developed by BAN, with the assistance of recycling industry leaders and health and environmental specialists, is the world’s most robust certification program for electronics recyclers. It prevents the export and dumping of toxic electronic waste in developing countries. There, men, women and children, without the benefit of enforced laws to protect workers and the environment, break down the e-waste by hand using dangerous fire and chemicals, suffering severe exposure to some of the most toxic materials known to man. The Standard also ensures that e-waste will not be dumped in municipal landfills and also safeguards the protection of the public’s private data, as well as prevents unsafe occupational exposure of workers in recycling plants to toxic dusts.

San Jose has joined its surrounding County of Santa Clara in becoming an e-Stewards Enterprise. Likewise King County (Seattle) in the State of Washington has joined. Other e-Stewards Enterprises include major corporations, Alcoa, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Capitol One, LG, Nestle, Samsung, and Wells Fargo Bank.

"In Silicon Valley, we boast the newest technologies in the world," said City Councilmember Ash Kalra. "However, the disposal of high-tech products is all too often done in a way that harms people and devastates the planet. Becoming an e-Stewards Enterprise will allow us to be accountable and ensure that whatever e-waste is recycled through the City is recycled responsibly and does not damage public health or the environment. It gives me great pride to know that San Jose has taken this major step in helping eliminate the harmful impacts our services may cause, directly or indirectly, to communities here or in other countries."

"The City of San Jose is proud to be the first City in the nation to become an e-Stewards Enterprise," added Kerrie Romanow, Acting Director of San Jose's Environmental Services Department. "San Jose strives to be a leader in environmental stewardship and responsible e-waste management, by modeling best practices in all our City operations."

In 2010, San Jose recycled 146,000 pounds of City-generated e-waste, and sponsored two e-waste collection events, generating nearly 10,000 pounds of e-waste that were recycled by an e-Stewards Certified Recycler.