Monday, November 17, 2008

Are there any legitimate eWaste recyclers out there?

Watch CBS Videos Online

It turns out over 40 "recyclers" were recently nabbed by the US Government Accountability Office for illegally shipping cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) overseas, thus endangering the environment and the health of the people who dissasemble them. CRTs, such as televisions and computer monitors, contain lead which is a highly toxic metal.

The eWaste segment on 60 Minutes last week left many people (including myself) scratching our heads. How we can responsibly dispose of our electronic waste with scammers like this profitting on our good intentions?

The Basel Action Network and the Electronics TakeBack Coalition partnered to create an e-Stewards Initiative, which holds participating electronic recyclers to a set of high standards. These e-recyclers promise that they won't export, land dump, incinerate, or use prison labor to disassemble toxic components.

To participate in the e-Stewards Initiative, recyclers must go through a paper audit which includes a review of in-house operations and a verification of the chain of custody of toxic materials through final disposition. Although this is basically running on the honor system at this time, they recently announced that they are planning to launch a 3rd party accreditation and certification program in 2010.

So what's a green girl to do with that expired iPod? I plan to checkout the e-Stewards list of approved eWaste recyclers. But if you don't feel comfortable with that, hold onto your electronics until 2010.


Joost Hoogstrate said...

Hi Tara, you got a great site up there. I do share your concern about the environment in I guess we all need to leave something good behind for our children. What better than a healthy and safe environment! Its high time people got more involved in these eco-related issues. If not for their own good, at least for the succeeding generation’s sake they got to do something. You blog sure does point people in that direction.

Keep it up.

Joost Hoogstrate