The Basel Action Network (BAN) opposes a claim made by the federal government that the government is “leading by example” in how it handles its own e-waste. The global toxic trade watchdog organization says the government continues to allow use of the weakest available recycling standard, which lets recyclers export the hazardous e-waste to developing countries. Such exported e-waste often winds up being processed “in dangerous back-yard operations” in China, West Africa, and South Asia, BAN says.
The US government’s current policies and programs allow federal e-waste to be managed by recycling companies that may have some of their facilities certified only to “R2,” rather than the e-Stewards Standard. R2 doesn’t require its recyclers to fully adhere to decisions – agreed to by the 181 countries that are parties to the Basel Convention – which forbid the export of hazardous wastes, including e-waste, to developing countries.
BAN notes that companies such as Staples have ensured that their e-waste take-back programs only use e-Stewards Recyclers to manage the returned used electronics. Similarly, companies such as Bloomberg, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, CapitalOne, Aflac, Samsung, LG, Alcoa, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and the cities of San Francisco and Seattle, have all agreed to become e-Stewards Enterprises that support use of e-Stewards Recyclers.