Toxic Trade News / 4 June 2009
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ANAB Announces Accreditation for Ethical e-Stewards Electronics Recycling Certification
First Certification to halt the Exportation of e-Waste to Developing Countries
BAN Media Release
4 June 2009 (Seattle, WA.) – The Basel Action Network (BAN) joined the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) today in announcing the launch of ANAB accreditation for the certifying bodies that will audit and certify the e-Stewards Certification program. At the heart of the new e-Stewards Certification is an ethical ‘gold standard’ for responsible electronic equipment recycling – the only such standard that will finally put a stop to the export of toxic electronic waste to developing countries; the use of prison and child labor; and the dumping of toxic materials into our local landfills. ANAB provides accreditation to certifying bodies for many ISO standards and now has expanded their scope to include the e-Stewards Certification program which is fully integrated with the ISO 14001 environmental management system standard.

“The e-Stewards Standard provides true accountability for responsible disposal of electronic waste, and with ANAB’s oversight of the certification program, we intend to provide the consumer confidence and value,” Randy Dougherty, ANAB Vice President, said.

“We warmly welcome the vote of confidence from North America’s leading accreditation body and their recognition of the need for a rigorous and ethical certification that consumers can use to finally be assured that their old computers will not end up poisoning children in China or Africa, nor contaminate our own groundwater here at home,” said Sarah Westervelt, BAN’s e-Stewardship Program Director.

After years of frustration while contributing to multi-stakeholder standards development with the U.S. EPA and others, BAN realized that entrenched special interests would never agree to more than the lowest common denominator standards that would unfortunately fail to serve the marketplace of responsible customers and would even continue to allow practices that violate the laws of importing countries. So last year, BAN decided to work independently with the best electronics manufacturers, recyclers, asset recovery companies, refiners, and experts to define a rigorous but practical global standard with environmental, social, and occupational parameters to finally solve the “e-waste anarchy.”

Last fall, CBS’s 60 Minutes program featured BAN and highlighted the rampant practice of sham recyclers exporting toxic e-waste to Guiyu, China rather than ethically recycling it. In China, this highly poisonous waste was processed by impoverished workers using primitive technologies that produce in heavy contamination: for example, children in Guiyu have lead levels in their blood 80% higher than in control populations.

CBS continues to urge consumers to use the e-Steward recyclers. Just last week, BAN exposed another fake recycler that duped the Humane Society in a Pittsburgh, PA into sponsoring a free public e-waste collection event that promised local recycling. Instead, the company, while posing as an ethical recycler, actualy exported the collected e-waste to developing countries.

Jim Puckett, the Executive Director of the Basel Action Network, observes "Corporate customers demand responsible management of their electronic waste, but they have often been duped by an industry that profits from a global shell game of shunting wastes, American jobs and responsibility offshore. E-Steward certification is the first and best independent assurance that enterprise requirements will actually be met.”

In addition to ANAB providing accreditation for the e-Stewards program, SAI-Global will be providing auditor training for ANAB-accredited e-Stewards certifying bodies. The certification is in the final stages of development, with the Final Verification Phase about to begin, resulting in the first accredited certifications in 2009 and a full launch of the certification program to all comers in early 2010.


For more information:

About the e-Stewards Recyclers and Certification Program:

Recent research Report: The EarthECycle Pittsburgh Recycling Scam is available at

Photographs of unethical recycling available at

Contact at BAN: Sarah Westervelt, (206) 652-5555,
Contact at ANAB: Penny Gamache, 800-606-5394, ext. 7275,

FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The Basel Action Network is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Select images courtesy of Chris Jordan