LG Electronics Inc. (066570.KS) today announced a commitment to use third-party certification for verifying how its electronics waste is recycled worldwide. By becoming the first e-Stewards Enterprise, LG will give preference to electronics recyclers worldwide that meet and are certified to the "e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment."
The international standard, developed by the non-profit Basel Action Network (BAN), with the advice of industry leaders and health and environmental specialists, is the world's most rigorous certification program for electronics recyclers. It prevents the export and dumping of toxic electronic waste in developing countries.
The standard also calls for strict protection of private data and occupational health safeguards to ensure workers in recycling plants are not exposed to toxic dusts.
"This is historic," says BAN Executive Director Jim Puckett. "To have a company like LG, with more than 90,000 employees working in 120 operations on five continents, embrace the e-Stewards program around the world will not only significantly protect human health and the environment from toxic pollution but will raise the profile of the e-Stewards internationally. It speaks volumes about LG's commitment to environmental leadership."
In 2010, LG recycled over 8 million pounds of home electronic products in the US, free of charge to consumers.
Currently, there are e-Stewards Enterprises in the US, Mexico and UK, and several are moving through the certification process in Canada.
Last week, the US government made its first effort to address electronics waste. An Interagency Task Force issued a report outlining purchasing and recycling guidelines for the federal government.
BAN praised the report for a strong emphasis on green design and the need for certified recyclers. But the nonprofit criticized the report for failing to address what is considered to be the most serious e-waste problem - e-waste exporting to developing countries.
Currently, most US electronic waste is exported to developing countries by US companies that claim to be recyclers, only to be bashed, burned, flushed with acids, and melted down in unsafe conditions in developing countries.