Toxic Trade News / 17 June 2009
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Electronics Recycling Certification May Halt Unethical Practices
by Environmental Leader
17 June 2009 – In a move to help businesses ensure that they are ethically recycling their obsolete electronics, the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) now offers electronics recyclers and others including asset management and refurbishing operations national certification to the e-Stewards Certification Program developed by the Basel Action Network (BAN).

ANAB, the U.S. accreditation body for management systems, will provide oversight of third-party certification bodies that become accredited to conduct audits and issue certificates of conformance to electronic recyclers that successfully demonstrate they meet the requirements of the e-Stewards Standard.

“The e-Stewards Standard provides a means to respond to the need for responsible disposal of electronics waste, and ANAB’s oversight of the certification program is intended to build confidence and value for consumers,” said Randy Dougherty, ANAB vice president, in a statement.

To apply for ANAB’s e-Stewards accreditation, certification bodies must have an office located in North America and be accredited by ANAB or another national accreditation body recognized by the International Accreditation Forum to provide certification to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems.

Certification body auditors also must successfully complete training established by the Basel Action Network prior to performing audits for e-Stewards certification.

The Basel Action Network also is warning consumers to be careful about where they recycle their old TVs following the nationwide conversion from analog to digital TV. They urge consumers to only use qualified e-Steward recyclers that will not export TVs and other electronic waste to developing countries.

Similarly, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition said that too few TV manufacturers have programs to recycle electronics, and that many of the ones that exist are inadequate.

According to BAN, due to a lack of legislation about 80 percent of those companies calling themselves “recyclers” in North America will export old TVs to countries like China, India, or Nigeria where the toxic leaded glass, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants will poison villagers using outdated technologies to recover some of the materials and then dump or burn the rest of the electronic waste.

Allegations of misconduct by BAN recently instigated an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency into EarthEcycle LLC. The environmental group alleges that the recycler exported hazardous electronics to Korea and Hong Kong instead of properly recycling the electronics.

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