San Francisco Joins Global Effort to Tackle Electronic Waste

The Basel Action Network ( BAN ) announced today that the City and County of San Francisco have achieved the status of "e-Stewards Enterprise." The designation recognizes cities, counties and companies that take concrete measures to eliminate the export of hazardous electronic waste (e-waste) to developing countries by using Certified e-Stewards® Recyclers to manage their electronic waste. "Leaders lead, and the City and County of San Francisco have demonstrated that the status quo where the majority of electronic waste is routinely dumped in developing countries or our local landfills is just not acceptable anymore," said Jim Puckett, Executive Director of BAN. "To shrink our toxic footprint and our carbon footprint, to ensure our children’s future, we are going to need more leaders in all public and private institutions to make the kind of bold move that San Francisco just made."

San Francisco joins the e-Stewards Enterprise program current members including Wells Fargo, Nestle, Bloomberg News, Capital One, Samsung, Bank of America, Alcoa Aluminum and LG. They also join King County, the seat of Seattle and Bellevue in Washington State, Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose, home to Silicon Valley.

"The technology tools we use in our everyday lives too often end up in the environment as a major source of toxic pollution. Our city's primary focus when it comes to electronics is on reuse," says Melanie Nutter, Director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment. "But when we do need to recycle, we are committed to doing it responsibly."

E-waste is the world’s fastest growing pollution problem. According to Time Magazine, Americans throw out more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers every day. Approximately 80% of electronic waste currently delivered to recyclers is actually exported to developing countries. Improperly disposed of, the lead, mercury and other toxic materials inside e-waste poisons workers and pollute communities.

The non-profit BAN created the world's most rigorous standard for electronics recycling, called the "e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment." The e-Stewards Standard protects against e-waste dumping in landfills, processing by prisoners, and the export of hazardous e-waste to developing countries. It also ensures worker protection and strict rules for the security of private data stored in electronics. It is the only e-waste standard to include all these protections. More than 70 environmental groups worldwide have endorsed the e-Stewards Standard.

As an e-Stewards Enterprise, San Francisco commits to using, wherever possible, recyclers that are annually audited and certified to the e-Stewards Standard. The complete list of e-Stewards Enterprises and recyclers certified to the e-Stewards Standard is available at