Toxic Trade News / 17 March 2011
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Electronics Recycling Industry Leaders Call on the Federal Government to Stop Exporting its own E-Waste
BAN Media Release
17 March 2011 (Chicago) – Thirty[*] leading electronics recyclers meeting this week in Chicago called on the federal government to lead by example and ensure that the old computers, printers, phones and other electronics from all federal agencies are not sold or auctioned to brokers that will then simply export the e-waste to developing countries where it is most often dismantled, cracked and burned in substandard, harmful conditions. The meeting drew together e-Stewards Recyclers that have agreed to become certified to the e-Stewards Standard ( for responsible recycling.

According to the most recent data available, 25% of the U.S. government's approximately 2.1 million computers are replaced annually, which adds up to more than 500,000 each year. The U.S. government is believed to be the largest source of electronic waste on earth today.

A Presidential Proclamation last November announced the creation of a new Interagency Task Force on Electronics Stewardship, led by the White House Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ). The President called on the federal agencies to develop a national strategy for electronics stewardship, including procedures for how the agencies manage their own e-waste. The task force must conclude its work in May 2011, when an announcement on e-waste policy is expected from the White House.

“President Obama stated that he wanted to ensure the federal government leads as a responsible consumer,” said David Zimet, President of Hesstech LLC in New Jersey. “And people might be shocked to know that currently any federal employee’s computer can end up being auctioned off, then exported and dumped in countries like China, Vietnam, Ghana or Nigeria. If the Federal government is serious about leading by example, stopping such export must be the first priority.”

Industry insiders have stated that as much as 80% of the electronic waste sent to so called “recyclers” in the United States is not recycled in this country at all but instead gets exported to developing countries where labor is cheap and environmental and occupational standards are lacking. e-Stewards, on the other hand, employ Americans to handle waste domestically and export clean non-toxic commodities rather than hazardous electronic waste.

“By exporting our toxic electronic waste we are making two big mistakes,” said Jim Taggart, CEO of ECS Refining, with facilities in California, Oregon and Texas. “We are exporting poisons to developing countries and at the same time we are exporting good American jobs. It makes no sense.“

The e-Stewards Certification Program was established by the environmental non-profit group the Basel Action Network, to ensure responsible recycling of all electronics. e-Stewards recyclers abide by a rigorous set of requirements and do not export hazardous electronic waste to developing countries, nor allow such toxic materials to be disposed of in municipal landfills and ensure that industry workers are protected from occupational hazards.


For more information contact:

Mr. Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the Basel Action Network (BAN).
Phone: (206) 354-0391. E-Mail:

Mr. Jim Taggart, CEO, ECS Refining.
Phone: (408) 348-7600. E-Mail:

Mr. David Zimet, President, Hesstech, LLC.
Phone: (732) 287-2442. E-Mail:

* The e-Stewards recyclers in attendance included:

2TRG, A GreenSpan Computers, Cascade Asset Management, California Electronic Asset Recovery, CloudBlue, Com2, Creative Recycling, eLoop, ECS Refining, Electronics Recycling International, e-Structors, ESCO Processing and Recycling, Free Geek, GEEP, Global Environmental Services, Green Citizen, Hesstech, Jack’s Family Recycling, Metech, NextStep, Onsite Electronics, Call2Recycle (RBRC), Redemtech, Technocycle, Total Reclaim, Universal Recycling Technologies, Viatek Solutions, WeRecycle!

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