Toxic Trade News / 14 October 2010
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California’s Santa Clara County Commits to Highest Standard of Responsible E-Waste Recycling

"Silicon Valley" Government Becomes First in Nation to Join e-Stewards® Initiative
BAN Media Release
14 October 2010 (Santa Clara, CA.) – Leading environmental and community organizations* working to promote responsible electronic waste management today applauded the County of Santa Clara’s decision to become an “e-Stewards Enterprise,” committing themselves to utilizing e-Stewards® certified electronics recyclers that meet the highest standard of responsible electronics waste recycling. The county, frequently referred to as “Silicon Valley,” for its status as a global hub of the high-tech industry, is the first in the nation to do so.

E-Stewards Certified Electronics Recyclers will not export hazardous electronic wastes to developing countries, nor dump such wastes into municipal landfills, nor use prison labor for managing such wastes.

A grassroots effort spearheaded by San Jose’s Temple Emanu-El and People Acting in Community Together (PACT) inspired the county’s action.

“We are proud to be the first government to earn the e-Stewards Enterprise designation," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss, who proposed the arrangements with e-Stewards recyclers and the agreement to become an e-Stewards Enterprise. "It's important that we here in Silicon Valley take a leading role and are very happy to be a part of this partnership between the environmental community, leaders in industry and government to provide a solution to the challenges of our high-tech world."

As an e-Stewards Enterprise, Santa Clara County agrees to always make best efforts to work with certified e-Stewards recyclers, ensuring that the county’s e-waste does not contribute to the global toxic waste crisis. All of the e-waste generated by County government (a $4 billion organization with 15,000 employees) and collected by the County from its 1.8 million residents is recycled by e-Stewards pledged/certified recyclers.

E-Stewards recyclers undergo a professional audit every year to guarantee they do not export hazardous recycling byproducts to developing countries, use US prison labor, or dump in municipal landfills, ensure that private data is kept secure, and that the operations protect both workers and the environment everywhere.

“In the US and too often in the rest of the developed world, lack of laws or proper enforcement has allowed toxic electronics waste to be dumped on impoverished communities in developing countries,” said Sheila Davis, Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. “The e-Stewards initiative aims to put an end to this gross violation of basic human rights and scourge on the environment. We congratulate the County of Santa Clara on adopting this ethical and practical set of recycling standards.”

The e-Stewards Certification for recyclers was created by the Basel Action Network (BAN) in conjunction with recycling industry and occupational health experts to fill a global and legal void of responsible e-Waste management. Its enterprise program already includes Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capitol One, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Samsung, and now Santa Clara County.


For more information contact:

Mr. Scott L. Strickland, Senior Policy Analyst to Supervisor Liz Kniss, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, 408-299-5057,

Ms. Lauren Ornelas, Communications Officer, Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, 408-287-6707 x303,

Mr. Jim Puckett, Executive Director, Basel Action Network, 206-652-5555,

Complete information about the e-Stewards Initiative is available at

For a link to County Decision: (item 17)

* Supporting groups include: Basel Action Network (BAN), California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC), Electronic TakeBack Coalition (ETBC), and Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Temple Emanu-El (Tikkun Olam Committee), People Acting in Community Together (PACT).

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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