New electronics were again the rage this holiday season, enticing people to head right from the Thanksgiving table to the store for midnight madness specials on electronics. Tablet computers, laptops, TVs, e-readers and video games were the top five most popular electronic gifts this year. But many of these gifts replace older models, and it’s the cause of a post-holiday tsunami of toxic electronic waste, or e-waste. So, what to do with old TVs, phones, games and the like? As they are often loaded with lead, arsenic or other dangerous chemicals, electronics do not belong in the trash! More and more people are learning that old electronics must be carefully recycled as hazardous waste. But what most people don’t know is that most companies that call themselves electronics recyclers are not really recyclers at all. They are global e-waste dumpers. The vast majority of companies and organizations touting themselves as environmentally friendly “recyclers” are just selling this highly toxic scrap to brokers, who then ship to developing countries in African and Asia where all this waste is broken down in highly dangerous and destructive ways, creating what 60 Minutes calls “the most toxic places on earth” (see www.ban.org/photogallery). So, how to tell the difference between “good” and “fake” e-recyclers? It used to be difficult for even the most conscientious consumer. But now there is a simple choice, thanks to a new program that certifies responsible e-recyclers. Only Certified e-Stewards Recyclers ensure your e-waste will not be exported to developing countries but rather recycled by the most secure practices in the world. The e-Stewards® Recycler Certification Program was developed by a leading environmental watchdog, the Basel Action Network (BAN), to give consumers and other generators of e-waste an easy, simple way of finding responsible recyclers. Only Certified e-Stewards Recyclers may display the e-Stewards logo, and these business leaders can be found on the e-Stewards website at www.e-Stewards.org. A convenient zip code search can help you find an e-Stewards Recycler near you. “The sad by-product of our high-tech world is that we are creating mountains of this growing source of toxic waste, and too many electronics recyclers do not recycle the material at all, but simply throw it into a seagoing container and export it to destinations like China, India and Africa,” said e-Stewards Business Director Lauren Roman. “In these developing countries, your old computer or TV will be smashed, melted, and burned in highly dangerous and polluting operations by a desperately impoverished and unprotected workforce.” BAN was the first to document the cyber-age nightmare of the global e-waste trade and has since led teams from PBS’s Frontline and CBS’s 60 Minutes to the global e-Wastelands of Africa and China. Despite exposing these horrors, BAN investigators continue to witness and track countless containers of e-waste leaving North American shores destined for third-world countries. The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not strictly control the export of hazardous waste. For this reason, major corporations such as Hewlett Packard, Apple, and Dell have joined BAN, the Electronic TakeBack Coalition and 34 electronics recycling companies to promote legislation to ban hazardous e-waste exports. Until proper laws are passed, consumers are safe in using only e-Stewards Recyclers. “We all need to do our part to spread good will on earth and not toxic e-waste,” said Roman. “In 2012, let’s be sure to entrust our e-recycling only to those companies that handle e-waste without harming others: Certified e-Stewards Recyclers.” For more information contact: Lauren Roman at BAN in Seattle: 1.206.652-5555, firstname.lastname@example.org Jim Puckett at BAN in Seattle 1.206.354.0391, email@example.com
Holiday E-Waste? Beware Fake Recyclers!
A mountain of post-holiday e-waste has many consumers scrambling to properly recycle old electronics.