Just upgraded the office’s computers, and have a bunch of towers and monitors that you’d like to recycle. It’s tempting to get online and go with the cheapest e-waste recycling service you can find, right? The problem, of course, is that, unless you’re super diligent, you don’t know what they’ll do with that electronic waste once they pick it up. It could easily end up in the developing world where children pick through it unprotected to collect valuable metals… probably not what you had in mind when you decided to dispose of these materials “responsibly.” Unfortunately, the US is one of the few developed countries that hasn’t signed on to a treaty banning the export of these materials.
The Basel Action Network’s e-Stewards certification has become the standard for responsible e-waste recycling: the organization certifies that providers won’t just dump toxic materials in a landfill, offshore it, or otherwise use forced labor – children, prisoners, etc. – to extract reusable materials. You could certainly use e-Steward certification as a search term, but the Network has now made it even easier to connect with a recycler that will take care of your business’ materials as you envision: they’ve launched the e-Stewards Marketplace in partnership with web developer Retrace.
Think of it like an eBay for B2B electronic waste: businesses can sign up and list the materials they have available. Participating recyclers must be e-Steward certified; they can buy listed materials, or sell non-toxic refurbished equipment or separated parts. Those recyclers get access to new customers with a lower bar for competition, and sellers get the knowledge that the materials they sell will be handled responsibly and ethically… a win-win for all concerned.
Want to know more about the environmental impact of ensuring that your materials go to an e-Stewards certified recycler? Than check out the program’s new smartphone app, which will show a user important sustainability metrics for their e-cycling efforts, including greenhouse gas emissions avoided, toxins diverted from landfills and illegal global dumping, and valuable metals recovered.
What does your company do to ensure that e-waste gets properly recycled? Share your practices with us…
Image credit: Shutterstock
Great article Jeff,
I feel that there is a need to put up some awareness about E-waste recycling amongst the IT sector as majority of E-waste comes from the IT sector.